In a Faversham News report (27 June) on a controversial planning application for a fast-food takeaway at the Cook Associates office in Preston Street, applicant Peter Cook is quoted as saying he wants the change of use from office to takeaway to make it more attractive to potential buyers, because “there is just no demand for office or shop space”.  So why do the Neighbourhood Plan proposals include so much ground floor commercial/retail space? Could it be because if you build housing on a flood plain, you can’t have residential use on the ground floor, so you have to think of something else to do with it – and if there’s some sort of businessy use, then you can call it “mixed development”? But if there’s no demand for this space, will we end up with boarded-up shops, or will it just be used for residents’ parking? Either way, we end up with developments that are lifeless at street level. Is this a good idea?

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