Councillors last night (Monday) gave the go-ahead for a bar/restaurant to open at the redeveloped local authority headquarters.
A decision to allow a pub/eatery at the revamped Harborough District Council offices was initially given the green light back in July but opposition councillors ‘called in’ the decision which meant it had to be revisited.
A vote was taken at last night’s full council meeting which saw the move pushed through.
The Tory-run council wants to include pubs and eateries on the ground floor of its £5.75million redevelopment scheme at the Adam and Eve Street site.
It now means bars and eateries will be allowed to open at the Grade II-listed building until midnight, seven days a week.
The Lib Dems voted against while the Tories held firm, and passed the recommendation.
Market Harborough Civic Society and Market Harborough Histoical Society both objected to the proposal.
Also mentioned during last night’s debate was the fact that no firms have yet signed up to take any of the units in the revamped office.
Cllr Phil Knowles (Lib Dem) said this morning that the Conservatives made a “financial-driven decision rather than a community or planning-driven decision”.
David Johnson, from the historical society, said on Twitter today: “HDC Tories judge own plans and opt to allow pubs in HQ building. So much for its cultural vision. Local residents ignored.”
But the council stressed today that just because the option to include a bar at the building has been agreed - it does not mean a bar will definitely open.
Cllr Phil King, portfolio holder for planning, said: “This decision does not mean a restaurant or bar, for example, will definitely open in this building, but does give the council more flexibility around how this busy town centre space is used. It is crucial for taxpayers that we make the best use of our assets and this decision allows greater flexibility to do just that.”
The issue was raised on #harboroughhour on Twitter a few weeks ago where there was broad support for opening a “classy” bar or restaurant at the site.
Story by Alex Blackwell
Follow Alex on Twitter, @BlackwellHarb.