Fears for future of New Mills business

MP Andrew Bingham speaks to locals at the Gherkin in New Mills.
MP Andrew Bingham speaks to locals at the Gherkin in New Mills.

A businessman is fearing for his future after council planners ruled he could no longer open his wine bar at night.

Sunny Shah runs The Gherkin in New Mills which operates as a cafe during the day and a wine bar during the evening.

An application to High Peak Borough Council planners for change of use to allow the premises to be opened as a wine bar was approved in 2012 for 12 months, subject to monitoring by the authority. But when Mr Shah applied for the removal of the condition, members of the authority’s Development Control Committee refused his application after concerns about noise and anti-social behaviour at the premises were raised by the police.

He is now only able to open The Gherkin during the day as a cafe/sandwich shop and is worried that the business will have to close as it is not financially viable as a cafe alone.

He said: “The only reason we opened the wine bar is because it made business sense and made things financially feasible.

“Now that is going to be taken away from us and it is the community who are going to lose out.

“The Gherkin has been here five years and there is a place for adults with learning difficulties four doors down. People from there come in quite a lot because they feel comfortable. If we close, they are going to miss out.

“I will 100 per cent try to fight this.”

He added: “At the beginning, we had a few incidents but we dealt with then. Since June there have been no incidents reported.”

The New Mills community has rallied round in support of The Gherkin and a Facebook group which has been set up already has over 1,050 members.

Tony Chaloner, who started the group, said: “I like to go in because it is a relaxing place with a nice ambience. There has never been any trouble there.”

High Peak MP Andrew Bingham visited The Gherkin on Monday to speak to Mr Shah and locals about the issues. But he said he was unable to get involved with individual planning applications and advised Mr Shah that he had the opportunity of appealing the decision.

“If any constituents want to see me, I’m always happy to go,” he added.

A spokesperson for High Peak Borough Council said: “The planning consent to operate as a wine bar in the evenings was only a temporary condition. “An application was made to continue this evening use which was refused by councillors on the grounds of noise and disturbance to nearby residents and insufficient parking provision.

“As with any planning decision, the applicant can appeal this decision.”