COUNCILLORS have rebuffed plans for a Japanese restaurant to transform the exterior of its building in Winchester

Kyoto Kitchen owner Miff Kayum applied for a new external link way, re-cladding, signage, internal remodelling and modernisation at 5 Bridge Street.

The restaurant moved from Parchment Street, its home for 11 years, in July.

Since then, Mr Kayum has overseen extensive renovations to the interior with recently opened hotel rooms. 

However, the city council planning committee refused the scheme, agreeing with its officers' recommendation. 

In the planning report, it said: “The proposed erection of vertical timber-cladding is considered to be an incongruous and unsympathetic development which will not only involve the loss and obscuring of the existing distinctive and in-keeping architectural details and materials, including the tile-hanging and timber frame, but has no contextual basis in the surrounding area and so will appear alien and dominant in the street scene, to the detriment of the character of the non-designated heritage asset, the visual unity of No.5 and No.6 Bridge Street and to the character and appearance of the surrounding Conservation Area.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Miff Kayum speaking at the planning committee

READ MORE: Kyoto Kitchen hotel rooms open after series of delays

Speaking at the meeting last Wednesday, Mr Kayum said: “This has been a labour of love for me. It was a really big decision for us to move to a new location. I am in love with this building, my wife is jealous! The property has been neglected. We have spent a lot of time renovating the whole property. 

“The building is fascinating. It has so much character and charm. We're proud to be turning an old coach house into a Japanese inn.”

The committee unanimously refused the proposal.

Planning manager Lorna Hutchings said: “The heritage manager identified significant harm. There is no business case for this. There is no public benefit to outweigh the harm.”

Cllr Brian Laming said: “We all know the building well. It has been very renovated inside, good job. But I'm concerned about the visual impact. I can't see how it would fit in with the surrounding buildings.”

After the meeting, Mr Kayum said: “I am a little disappointed by the subjective opinion put forward by the officers - especially as the area around Bridge Street is so unkempt and has many different in-cohesive styles of facades and materials. I hope that the planning committee and the council as a whole can review their policies and ensure that the businesses in Winchester are able to develop and evolve their properties in a way that our vibrant city and its style remains relevant and attractive whilst respecting heritage and embracing more sustainable materials.”