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Restaurant in seating wrangle with council
OXFORD’s new Asian-style fast food restaurant Itsu has applied for a change of use after a council warning. The £1m Cornmarket Street store, which opened at the former site of The Works bookshop last September, classed itself as a retail unit rather than a restaurant.
But the four-floor building has two floors of seating and city council developers are not satisfied with Itsu’s claim it is mainly a take-out venue.
Oxford City Council has warned the chain it could take action if it does not address the change of use issue.
But developers Rolfe Judd Planning, acting on behalf of Itsu, have written to the council to seek middle ground and change the licence to allow a mixed use premises.
They have sent the council a £385 fee to request change of use, and revised flooring documents which outline proposed alterations to the four floors.
A change of use could force the restaurant to make costly alterations to its interior or temporarily close while works are carried out.
A spokesman for Oxford City Council said: “Due to the number of tables and chairs provided across the two floors of the premises, the use is more akin to a mixed use including a restaurant and takeaway rather than just a shop.
“We have asked the owners to apply to change the use to reflect how the building is being used now.
“If they do not apply, it is down to our discretion as to whether we take enforcement action against their unauthorised use.”
The council expects to make a decision by April 14.