Domino's pizza base in HOP rejected again

Lewisham Council has had its decision to reject an application by Domino's Pizza to convert the Old Bank in to  a takeaway joint has been upheld by the planning inspector. The fact that it would turn the high street in to a parking bay for scooters was a key concern.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

For god's sake.

What is it with people round here?

Of the "premium fare" pizza places, Dominos are the best. I'd love to have one nearby.

But no, we have to pander to Trendy Trinny types. Again.

Brockley Nick said...

When you say "people" - do you mean planning officials? Because that's what the story's about.

Or you can make your own story up and moan about that, if you prefer.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good decision. The estate agent marketing the property keeps it still off the market. Will they insist or try someone else?..

Ben said...

Presumably Brockley Nick and the rest of the mungs on this site are going to pay the property owners rent while his shop sits vacant?

Ben said...

*mortgage

Anonymous said...

Thankfully the New Cross dominos branch delivers. I'm off to order a Texas BBQ Chicken. Mmm-mmm!

max said...

And proper coke please, not that diet shit for mungs!

terrencetrentderby said...

i prefer dominics, seriously, really nice bases.

once you've had dominics you never go back.

Anonymous said...

Dominics is indeed fine pizza. Their BBQ wings are delicious as well.

Anonymous said...

All this wine nonsense! You get all these wine people, don't you? Wine this, wine that. Let's have a bit of red, let's have a bit of white. Ooh, that's a snazzy bouquet. Oh, this smells of, I don't know, basil. Sometimes you just want to say, sod all this wine, just give me a pint of, mineral water.

Brockley Jon said...

@anon: "Thankfully the New Cross dominos branch delivers"
- Exactly. As does Pizza Hut in Forest Hill.

It's worth pointing out as Michael says on SEC's Honor Oak forum, "The inspector's main concern was the use of and parking of the mopeds at this location".

Delivery mopeds already use my road as their rat-run. I could do without that number doubling!

Anonymous said...

Papa Johns all the way

Anonymous said...

This may surprise you but I like wine!

The Coogan/Morris/Ianucci quotes on here make the 'salt of the earth' commments bearable.

Standards are nothing to be ashamed of unless you have none.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the occasional turnip, but you wont catch me going on and on about it.

Anonymous said...

I prefer Dominic's to Domino's anyway.

Tamsin said...

"Inspector" not "Officer" - so up another level and Lewisham's decision confirmed by that higher authority as being reasonable. (Perhaps amend the article, Nick, it makes one do a double take until you follow the links.) But good result. The Council always take a risk in refusing an application because the applicant can appeal and they then get stung on costs. (If they grant an application there is no realistic route whereby the objectors can appeal.)

Anonymous said...

So I'd gathered.

Anonymous said...

Dominic's pizza on brockley road is better than Domino's any day

Westsider said...

What's this? There is a pizza delivery service in Brockley already? I thought the place was stuffed to the gills with JoJo Maman Bebes and Nobus?

Anonymous said...

Anon 18:13 You keep saying that.

Anonymous said...

a takeaway in south london

not in my name!

Anonymous said...

I assume Brockley "Expert on Retail" Nick has another tenant lined up for this vacant property?

No?

Brockley Nick said...

Every time I vow not to feed the troll, every time I get sucked in.

@troll - a) I am reporting the news and offered no comment on this b) this was a planning inspector's decision and c) it's up to the landlord to work out how to maximise his returns on the property within the planning laws. He owns a restaurant - it's his job to find a restaurant tenant. Perhaps they could lower the rent they're asking for? Or if it's too much effort, sell the freehold to someone who knows what they're buying - a property with planning permission for a restaurant, not a takeaway.

Mb said...

Anons are like Japanese knot weed. Invasive, persistent, unwanted and can reproduce without the need for sex.

They are also have really big leaves, I've seen them.

Ben said...

"Every time I vow not to feed the troll, every time I get sucked in.

@troll - a) I am reporting the news and offered no comment on this "

Sorry I had not noticed your unbiased viewpoint before on this issue.

A landlord has the right to change the use of his premises. Given no restaurateur is in a rush to open up shop there I guess he is taking whatever he can get.

I personally know retail landlords who have very nearly lost their properties in this recession. The days of picking and choosing tenants are over. You can't simply assume he can afford lower the rent or sell the shop(vacant and less valuable) to someone who will open a restaurant.

NAT said...

A fine descriptive piece of botanonomy there MB.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ben

"A landlord has the right to change the use of his premises."

They have the right to ask to change use and the Council has the right to say no on the basis that it would be damaging for the rest of the high street.

"Given no restaurateur is in a rush to open up shop there I guess he is taking whatever he can get."

Those are two big assumptions. We don't know who might be interested now that it's going to remain as a restaurant.

Look, I don't live in Honor Oak so I am pretty neutral on the matter. This is the only website that gave Domino's the chance to make their case and I have said that I hope Domino's gets the chance to open in HOP, but having looked at the arguments for and against, it seems like the Council has reached the right decision.

The question of whether that location can sustain another restaurant is of course one none of us can answer definitively. However, I know that if the Old Bank was in Brockley, it would have been snapped up by a restaurateur. Is the Honor Oak market so different? A little. Perhaps there is a little less money around, perhaps the residents are more likely to have families and go out less. Otherwise, they are comparable areas with similar connections and HOP has the better high street. There is no reason to assume that that site couldn't work in its current form.

If the landlord puts it on the market and asks for a reasonable rent and still hasn't had a bite after a year, then I would support change of use, but even then, it ought to be a change of use which didn't require a scooter park outside.

Welcome to 2012 said...

Q: Is this Ben who's saying that a restaurant in a restaurant space is impossible in Honor Oak and we should take whatever we get the same Ben who's saying that the children's shop in Brockley would make a great restaurant and we should hope for something better?

A: Yes.

Anonymous said...

There's plenty of other HOP sites Dominos could have pizza fans.

The point is the Old Bank is a prominent corner site that deserves something less garish.....you dig?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there is a little less money in HOP than brokely, do me a favour Nick - Jog on

Anonymous said...

"If the landlord puts it on the market and asks for a reasonable rent and still hasn't had a bite after a year, then I would support change of use, but even then, it ought to be a change of use which didn't require a scooter park outside."

Great, you gonna pay his mortgage for a year until your dream restaurant opens if at all, Brockley Nick?

Osh said...

Anonymous you sound like the landlord in question!

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon

You seem to be labouring under the misaprehension that I turned down his application. He asked the Council to change the use of their building, they said no. I'm saying he should be given another chance at some point. That's actually quite supportive. There's no reason why they should ever have to change the use. The Council doesn't owe one landlord a living.

If this had gone ahead, would you have compensated the other local businesses (and their landlords) whose businesses would have suffered?

This was one idea to make use of the property. It turned out to be a bad one. I'm sure it's not the only idea.

Danja said...

Big fat meh to the landlord, he knew (or should have known) the regulatory environment in which he is operating as a commercial landlord, the use class of his building, and so on. It affects the purchase price of the premises for a start. Domino's may have been an attractive tenant, but it was always speculative given it needed a change of use permission. So he took a commercial gamble and has wasted months of void space. Oh well. Can't always get what you want and all of that.

oldpopinanoak said...

Presumably people also moaned when it changed from a bank...

Also its Honour Oak not Beverly Hills.

Anonymous said...

Beverly Hills has loads of branches of Dominos.

Matt-Z said...

I may be wrong but I'm sure that entire parade of shops with the Old Bank on one end is owned by one landlord. The whole lot was recently up for sale or rent.

CP Pizza lover said...

In making their planning decisions the Planners have to balance individual business and landlord needs vs the needs of the high street as a whole.

If planners just looked out for businesses and landlords then there isnt really a point having them and we would have even more betting and chicken shops. Conversely if they stuck rigidly to a policy of encouraging aspirational boutiques, artisan cheese manufacturers and gourmet mung-mongers then the high street would probably die out due to lack of take up (or maybe not eh Marylebone?).

It's a thankless task - what ever they do they are either strangling business or not doing enough to raise the profile of an area.

Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they dont. Sometimes its just a complicated decision.

As others have said. The dominos could easily go elsewhere - maybe even replacing (read eliminating) a chicken shop in the process!

As for the landlord well he bought a property with a restaurant use class. He would (or should) have known that there can be difficulties changing use and that there is always the risk of your tenant moving on or going bust. I suspect he/she made a profit whilst the restaurant were in.

For the record I am all for a Dominos, just not at that site - i am in a Crofton park pizza black hole where neither new cross nor forest hill Dominos will deliver and all i can get is pizza hut. Tried Dominics once and wasnt impressed...

Anonymous said...

I'd say their was more money in HOP than Brockley, look at all the restaurants in the vicinty.

Anonymous said...

Strip club please.

Anonymous said...

I am aware of other interested takers for the site of the old bank, however the landlord prefers Domino... I guess it is a credit issue, considering the rent+rates charged by the Council is almost £43k per year.

This is the main reason why most of our highstreets are turning into betting shops...

The Council should reduce its rates in line with the recession... or just let Domino or betting agents to further expand.

Brockley Nick said...

I agree that rates for high street businesses are too high. In areas where there are parades full of empty shops, Councils should lower rates. It might even lead to increased revenues, if there are more shops paying rates to offset the lower income per shop.

Lewisham Profit B4 People said...

This is the same planning department that allowed about 8 betting shops to open on Deptford High St, right?

Timmy2wheels said...

Ban anonymous posters. Ban them. Get them banned. Please.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lewisham Profit B4 People

Not really, it's the same department that has been largely powerless to prevent the spread of bookies in the borough.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - you can offset credit concerns by asking for a deposit.

Anonymous said...

How much would business rates be on a property like this?

Don't feed the Troll said...

To the Troll who continually posts ignorant crap re Mung etc You are such a loser, obviously you've travelled the world and led a rich and varied life right? more like chips and stella in a doorway while sheltering from the rain smoking that that fag you 'borrowed' off some student at the station - YOU ARE A LOSER - that is all.

Lady in the Well said...

Nick, would you reconsider your stance on banning the anons? They used to be a bit annoying but are now starting to spoil the site.

Anonymous said...

Don't ban the anons.

That's somethinig the Nazis would do.

Anon

Scrubber said...

Business rates are serious income for the council.

What do you think pays their chief's gold plated pensions...

Molewife said...

I live in Crofton Park and get Dominos delivered all the time - it's the Catford store. If you order online they just find your nearest one.

I for one am pleased there won't be a ton of mopeds zooming round the quiet residential streets up near the Old Bank - they've been closed to traffic at one end precisely to stop them being ratruns, this would have ruined that. And I have nothing against Dominos

Lady in the Well said...

Anons could still be anonymous but at least if they had to choose a name we could distinguish one moron from another

Danja said...

With the odd exception, they are all one to me - many hands, sharing one smallish brain. Oh, and as the monkey said, big leaves.

mung domino-eating loser said...

could Timmy2wheels been banned please, not for any particular reason

Brockley Jon said...

@Lady in the Well, if you don't like anons, I think you'll like South East Central. There is no such thing as an anonymous, and mung is a banned word. As is dogging. I kid you not.

Lady in the Well said...

I can't be the only one though.. are you going to send everyone to another website?

Anonymous said...

Anons are entertaining

Non Anons need to chill out

Anon

Crofton Cath said...

Ban rude anons who abuse, rant and stereotype their neighbours and then blame Nick for planning officers' decisions. It's a bit insane...and pathetic...

Non -anon said...

only anons find anons entertaining, to everyone else it's just boring.

Anonymous said...

I find the people with names boring - especially if their name includes their location

Brockley Nick said...

@Lady in the Well, Crofton Cath, et al. If we banned anons, we'd have to ban you too, unless you signed up to get yourself a Google account. And then you'd have to sign in every time.

This is not my name said...

It's not that fact that they are Anonymous - it's the fact they are usually unfunny, unoriginal and unpleasant.
Not much anyone can do about that unfortunately.

DaveMygreatroadyoucantaffordtoliveon said...

"I find the people with names boring - especially if their name includes their location"

Agreed.

Business Rates said...

Business Rates for the site in question are £8k+ per year and they increase steadily with inflation.

That is ~25% additional cost on top of the rent, just clear a bit of rubbish.

Brockley Nick said...

Interesting. That is similar to what we pay in rates for a shop in the borough of Westminster. Albeit, a different type of property.

Business Rates said...

@Nick - Unfortunately one does not get the same turnover in SE23 as in W1, just not enogh clients around unless you are a betting shop or a pizza delivery.

With regards to Credit, betting shop and pizza delivery are happy to sign and guarantee multi-years contracts... in fact they need to invest money to refurbish the place and would not do it for just one year. This is a landlords heaven, but a disaster for those locals who do not bet and eat in restaurants.

Brockley Nick said...

@Business - re: rates, precisely. So why are Councils charging similar rates for access to vastly different markets?

I know boroughs like Lewisham rely on rates for income, but they should price their rates to fill their high streets. Lower rates, more businesses. More businesses, higher income and more local employment.

Again, I know this easier said than done...

Danja said...

Rates are set nationally (and remitted by LAs who are merely collection agents to central government, before being redistributed via grants back to LAs on a head count basis). The only real variable between locations is the rateable value (market rent). A multiplier is applied to that, which is set centrally. So if the rates are the same that simply means that the valuation office last assessed the market rent of your shop as being around the same as that of the Old Bank on its last assessment. None of this is in the control of LBC.

Brockley Nick said...

Fair enough (but crazy). Are there any levers for Councils, eg: rate rebates?

If you can offer tax breaks to film productions to encourage them to film in the UK rather than Ireland, why not do the same for independent retail to reflect local market conditions?

Danja said...

I guess the theory is that local market conditions set the local market rents, so should reflect through to rates. Betting shops and Dominos etc may thus increase rates as well as local rents.

Brockley Nick said...

PS - another way to do it might be for Councils to buy up high street properties and let them below market rent to offset rates? If they can buy Catford shopping centre, why not La Lanterna?

Imagine the impact of buying a few strategic properties in key high streets across the borough, to develop good businesses at those sites that would attract footfall and other businesses. Once businesses were firmly established, the Council could sell the freehold.

Danja said...

Obviously you can see why central government would not like LAs to turn themselves into tax arbitrageurs like some celtic "tiger" economies or Switzerland or something. As the LA gets a % of the total national take based on its population, not what it raises in rates, there would be some pretty unhealthy dynamics.

The Tories want to loosen the reins, but the flip side of that is that councils would have be made responsible for their rate setting by keeping what they raised, and not redistributing it on head count.

The result would be very good for LAs with wealthy populations and sucessful business areas (the City of London would have to set up some equivalent of a sovereign wealth fund), and very bad for poor LAs.

Danja said...

One difficulty will be that the valuation office looks at what the open market rent would be for a new lease. So the more betting shops and Dominos are potential tenants in the open market, the more the difficulty is compounded for the businesses which can't compete with them on a pure takings per sq ft basis.

Anonymous said...

All this fuss over a simple shop that only wanted to sell simple fare.

Shame on you, Honor Oak Park.

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

@Brockley Nick

You are assuming the council is able to run a dynamic property fund/portfolio.

They've have completely wrecked the high street by granting planning consent to thousands of large out of town supermarkets. They should stick to bins and parking meters.

Brockley Nick said...

@Danja

OK, how about this. Take a model that the Government already supports - enterprise zones and apply them at micro level on the high street.

To prevent arbitrage and a race to the bottom, Councils would have to apply to central Government (or maybe the Mayor) to create a high street enterprise zone on, say, Brockley Road. Businesses in that location would be exempt from paying rates for the first - say - three years until they were established. Then the zone disappears and rates return. Established local buesinesses could also expand in to one of those properties and benefit from the zone, so long as they didn't close down an existing business.

A central Government fund could compensate Councils who create these zones. Let's say 5 properties x 8k per year = 40,000 per year per zone. 500 zones would cost you £20m per year. Small beer to regenerate 500 communities around the country.

Any objections?

Danja said...

Getting more sophisticated.

So all this makes pizza chicken betting shops more profitable, or the landlords or what?

TBH the rates are obviously a much smaller problem than the rent. The more fundamental issue (especially as the rates are themselves tied to market rent levels) I guess is what sorts of businesses are profitable enough to pay higher rents than others.

More use classes maybe. I'm sure the anons can suggest some categories.

Brockley Nick said...

@Danja - don't underestimate the cost of rates. They can easily be 50% of the rent. That makes a huge difference to a business in the first year or two, when it is likely to be making a loss anyway.

Oaksys said...

There's no need for an extra Pizza shop in that street. There's already a good private business pizza shop there. We've used them for years. It would be far better for the locality if the property owner finds another type of tenant. Maybe the rent asked for is unrealistic? Who knows.

Anonymous said...

"don't underestimate the cost of rates. They can easily be 50% of the rent"

I don't understand how this can be if the rates are set nationally as a proportion of the rent and for the Old Bank this proportion is 25%?

Brockley Nick said...

Rates are not fixed as a proportion of the rent.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia says are fixed to the 'rateable value' - the annual rent at which the land or building might reasonably be expected to be let-out.

Shouldn't this be pretty close to the rent paid?

betting scandal said...

There is a simple solution that central government should introduce, betting shop should not receive bets from people that receive benefits from the goverment.

I read somewhere that over 50% of betting shop clients spend a big portion of their benefits in betting shops. One could say that the betting industry stands because of government support.

Betting agents and white goods (LED TV I Xbox etc) rentals have a model of opening next to mail offices in poor areas because they are the first stop after the benefits are collected.

Brockley Nick said...

I won't pretend to be a commercial property expert, but in my limited experience, the rateable value doesn't necessarily reflect the amount you end up paying in rent.

For example, lots of businesses moving in to a new retail premise will agree a rent-free period or heavily discounted period. In the right circumstances, you might easily get 6 months or a year rent free. But you will still be paying rates at full whack.

It's really in this early period that it matters. I can't remember the stat about how many businesses go bust in their first year, but it's very high.

Once you're established as a business, after one or two years, rates should not be an issue, but in the early stages, when you are probably losing money, that you might be financing out of your own savings or from a very limited bank loan, that is a big chunk of cash to find each month on top of everything else.

Anonymous said...

Business rates are 43.3% of the Rateable Value.

If rates on Old Bank are £8k and this is 25% of the rent, this would imply that the rent being demanded (which works out at £32k) is much higher than the independent valuation of the 'rateable value' from the government (which works out at £18.5k).

Thus it is fairly easy to argue that the Landlord is attempting to charge to much, which is why the unit is still empty.

Danja said...

It is going to be a pretty imprecise valuation of the open market rent, and also very laggy as they only re-value every five years or so, then mess with the multiplier to change the tax take in between times.

My comment was really about this example, Nick, where the rates were a quarter of the rent, but seemed to be being painted as the entire problem, which is strange.

I think most likely if you removed rates, market rents/commercial property values would just rise. Rents reflect the fact that rates also have to be paid.

Not that I don't sympathise with the start up problem or think that something could not be done, but like all policy it is more complex than at first it seems.

business rates said...

While rent is negotiable, market driven and driven by property and location availability, rates are not.

So rates further distort the market making very difficult for more commercial entrepreneurs to start up.
So if one wanted to save the high-streets rates should be different for chains and new entrepreneurs. The sum of rates + rent may as well remain the same as Danja points out, but the owner would be incentives to rent to entrepreneurs if the rates are lower because it would receive a bigger proportion. If the rates are the same, then the obvious economic choice is to rent to the better credit: the chain.

Ben said...

Business rates fund local authority spending. The choices are either increase central funding or cut local spending.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ben - if you read the conversation, that point has been discussed. Rate reductions might conceivably increase Council incomes because more businesses would be paying.

Danja said...

That doesn't work Nick, because landlords now have to pay full rates for empty properties (I think they get 3 months off when a vacancy starts). This has been discussed already. :)

Brockley Nick said...

@Danja - ah yes (assuming that rule stays - there's a fair amount of pressure to change back to the previous system). In any case, it's not a revelation that lower rates mean lower incomes. But surely one of the most important functions of local councils is to encourage successful high street communities? If that costs a bit of money, so be it.

Ben said...

@Brockley Nick

I read your point, there are not a huge amount of empty shops in Lewisham, Brockley in particular is pretty well tenanted, outside London of course it is far worse. Some non high street parades in Lewisham are dying and probably should be killed off and converted into residential use where the need is greater. Your point about increasing revenue by lowering rates and hence attracting more shops may only be right to a limited extent, the real question is where the money will come from to ultimately shift budget responsibility from the high street to central government.

Something needs to fill the council’s coffers and rates are squeezing existing businesses and preventing start ups. If we want a diverse high street we should place the burden of tax elsewhere. Since the supermarkets have killed the high street they would be a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

Do you want to fill the Council pockets? Then charge buy to let residential landlords. They really add very little to the economy other than inflating houseprices. In the US local tax for landlords can reach 10% of the value and cannot be passed on to tenants. Result: relatively lower prices and less speculators...

max said...

Around the subject of subsidies to other kinds of enterprise there is this report on Newsnight that make some really important considerations:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9695214.stm

Anonymous said...

@Anon 16:32

Yes but how on earth would you stop the landlords from passing the cost of the tax on to tenants by raising rents?

Anonymous said...

If tax is collected in the landlord tax return it is less likely, because he is personally liable. If also sufficiently high, they may try to pass on some of it but there would certainly be a contraction in the yield. If the yield is low, invstors will put thirs money somewhere else or property values will need to come down. Doublng the rent would not be possible, people just can't afford it. This is the case in the US btw

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