Inquiry into Caffè Nero outlet in Wiltshire

The future of a Caffè Nero outlet in a Wiltshire town is to be decided at a public inquiry.

Wiltshire Council has served an enforcement notice against the national coffee chain for breaching planning rules at its new store in Marlborough.

But Caffè Nero, which has been trading in the town for six months, has appealed against the notice claiming the permission in question was not required by "many councils".

A public inquiry is due in January.

In April, a branch of Caffè Nero was opened in a former clothing store on Marlborough High Street without planning permission for change of use.

The council subsequently issued an enforcement notice against the chain to stop it trading - but the company has appealed against the notice.

'Thriving business'

Councillor Richard Gamble said the council was "extremely disappointed" the chain had moved into a shop unit "without first gaining the necessary planning permission".

"The council has served an enforcement notice to seek to return the premises to their original use for retail purposes," he said.

"However, this notice has been appealed by Caffe Nero and the law allows them to continue the coffee shop use until the appeal is determined."

A spokesman for Caffè Nero said that more than 330 people had signed a petition to keep the branch open.

"Whether planning permission is required for our use continues to be open to question with many councils deciding that it does not," he said.

The chain said the council's planning officers had said outlet was a "thriving business" that attracted "a significant number of customers".

A public inquiry is due to be held in January.

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