PLANS have been approved for a new restaurant venture in Wickersley less than a year after a similar proposal was turned down at the same spot.
A change of use to a drinks establishment at the empty shops was refused by Rotherham Borough Council last summer.
But now the units will become Seasons, a restaurant bringing 20 jobs and contributing to the village’s burgeoning nightlife and food scene.
The council said the reason for different decisions related to the number of other shops in the area its threshold of 65 per cent retail within the Wickersley shopping area was not in place last summer.
Senior development manager Nigel Hancock said: “Since then, we have had an up-to-date survey of the area, which indicates currently the percentage of shops is 67.
“So this is now policy compliant, which is different to the previous application and makes this acceptable in principle.”
Wickersley Parish Council and three residents objected, saying there were enough restaurants and this development would exacerbate parking problems at Bawtry Road.
RMBC said it was aware of the issue and exploring possible waiting restrictions in the area.
Cllr Deborah Fenwick-Green, planning board member, said: “I think we’ve just got to accept that the face of the high street is changing. The demand for shops during the day is not there any more.
“Demand for nightlife is there. I can’t see any reason why anybody should object to this.
“It seems ironic how everybody complains about parking but nobody’s prepared to ditch the car and walk.”
Seasons in the former tattoo parlour and Smiths butchers and deli will be run by the team behind the nearby Courtyard wine bar.
General manager Nick Lyons said they were delighted to gain planning permission with a unanimous vote last Thursday and would be aiming for a high-end dining experience.
He added: “Wickersley is a fantastic part of Rotherham and the vibrant village centre has really blossomed in recent years.
“The café culture and nightlife are thriving, and it really is becoming a go-to destination for fashion boutiques, homeware, interior and gift stores as well as restaurants and bars.”