PLANS for a pizza takeaway in an empty shop in Bishop’s Waltham have been turned down because it would not improve the “the vitality” of the town.

Winchester City Council has refused a scheme for The New Wool and Footwear Shop on the High Street

The application was made by Steve and Megan McMulkin, who run Lush Pizza from a van within walking distance of the town centre.

Mr McMulkin said: “It seems sensible that a move into a purpose-built retail premises creates a better environment to work, provide improved service and maintain quality food.”

But the city council argues that a takeaway would not enhance the “vitality and viability of the centre”.

The officer report states: “The unit will not be open during the daytime and takeaway units provide little scope for linked trips that will benefit the centre as a whole. Half of the trade is delivery and most of the remainder of sales will be pre-paid collection only.”

“It is therefore considered that there is a suitable mix of uses within that part of the town centre and that the area is currently performing well. It is not considered that the area is lacking in vitality.”

Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council also objected, on the grounds that it would result in the loss of a retail use.

Mr McMulkin added: “It is hard to believe that the vitality of the town is in jeopardy when we are ready to make significant investment of our own savings in an extensive refit for regeneration of the space.”

Resident Robert Symes said “Vitality does not seem synonymous with variety. After all, we have six places to get your hair cut, six estate agents and eight places to get a coffee in town.”

“If people complain that this shop becomes another hair dresser or estate agent, talk to Winchester.”