Owner spends thousands transforming his shop – only to be told to change it back to exactly how it was
Date published: 23 January 2024
The exterior of Peeco Ltd on Manchester New Road, Alkrington
An Alkrington businessman is going to battle with his own council over a difference of opinion regarding his shop front.
The owner of Peeco Ltd, a window and door showroom, says that he has been harshly treated after Rochdale Council refused planning permission for his new shop front. Chris Daly’s dream new showroom for his business has turned into a nightmare after he spent thousands of pounds transforming the Manchester New Road shop – only to be told by the council to change it back to how it was.
This is because he did not apply for planning permission initially for the change, and was later refused retrospective permission.
The new front was installed in May 2023, one month after Chris received the keys, with the council refusing permission this month after the independent business received notice following a complaint last year.
The council has claimed that the modifications to the former Little Soles children’s shoe shop doesn’t fit in with the local area and “wouldn’t improve the area.”
In their letter of refusal, the council said: “The loss of the character and detailing of the existing stallriser and inset front entrance would be unduly harmful to the character and appearance of the building and the surrounding street scene.”
The 41-year-old believes the new shop look is actually more visually appealing without the shutters and says he has even received compliments from neighbours since it opened in August.
“We are only a small business and we are trying to grow,” the father-of-two said. “I’ve tried to keep it in character with the building.
“People are saying it is in keeping with the heritage of the building as well. The people living over the road said they are over the moon with what we’ve done.
“(When I was told the decision) I was like, ‘what do I do now’, I was thinking, is this it, and where do I find the money to put it back?
“Small businesses are struggling, I’m worried about having to close it down after spending all this money.”
Chris said he is going to appeal the council’s decision but that the saga has come at the cost of time, money and his own health. He said the ordeal has left him constantly feeling stressed and concerned about the future of his business – which has been going for almost a decade.
The location is near to his home and the idea behind the transformation was to show off his products to the masses going down Manchester New Road – without shutters blocking the view.
Chris said: “The old shop front was falling to bits and looked awful. We had to make use of the little space we had available and utilise the shopfront to display our products.
“Our main aim was to ensure we didn’t do anything but justice to the property as it was definitely in need of restoration of some kind but refused to lose the original design.”
Since posting about the council’s decision, he has received dozens of letters of support from locals and customers, and on social media.
Chris continued: “We have a lot of local trade as well as quite a lot who travel from Cheshire and even one client who came from as far as London to see one of our niche products. We bring local business as we always recommend anyone travelling a long way to try Café Meridia which is one of the neighbouring properties.
“Every single person who comes to see us always comments about how classic and stylish our showroom is. We even had one say that if our shop didn’t look this way, they wouldn’t have even got out of the car to come in.”
“I am a local business not being supported by my own council,” he added. “If they do make me turn it back to how it was, I will be forced to close.
“I love it here; I don’t want to give it up. I will fight until the end for this.”
Although the council are not saying he cannot operate from the location on the junction of Kingsway, they deem his shop front to be a ‘visual harm’ to the area. Usually, if a retrospective planning application is refused, the building must be turned back to its original design – something Chris wants to avoid after investing thousands.
The decision notice, officially issued on 16 January to Peeco Ltd, read: “The installation of the proposed shop front and the loss of the character and detailing of the existing stallriser and inset front entrance would be unduly harmful to the character and appearance of the building and the surrounding street scene.
“The lack of cohesion between the design language of the proposed shop front and the existing property would exacerbate the visual harm in this location and the application ultimately fails to amount to a satisfactory standard of design.”
It went on to say: “The proposal would not improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area nor does it comply with the development plan and therefore does not comprise sustainable development.
“There were no amendments to the scheme, or conditions which could reasonably have been imposed, which could have made the development acceptable and it was therefore not possible to approve the application.”
Rochdale Council was approached for comment, but did not want to add anything further.
George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Additional reporting: Rochdale Online News
Do you have a story for us?
Let us know by emailing email@example.com
All contact will be treated in confidence.
Most Viewed News Stories
- 1Serious collision on Wildhouse Lane leaves driver in life-threatening condition
- 2David Tully’s reaction to being the runner up in the Rochdale by-election
- 3Autistic Middleton author's latest book explores how to survive puberty as a teenage girl with...
- 4Roadworks, temporary local road closures and restrictions
- 5Rochdale by-election: George Galloway wins seat and independent David Tully is second with over...