Dragonfly Leisure Centre has been given the green light to knock down an old toilet block and build a new drive-through coffee shop, as part of their plans to help regenerate the town.
Midsomer Norton’s Dragonfly Leisure applied in December for planning permission to knock down a closed toilet block out the front of the leisure centre and build a new drive-through coffee shop.
Bath and North East Somerset Council granted planning permission on April 17, stating: “There are a number of benefits to the proposal. It is considered that the proposal complies with the relevant planning policies and therefore, the application is recommended for permission subject to conditions.”
The new coffee shop is part of the leisure centre’s plans to contribute to the transformation of Midsomer Norton into a ‘destination town.’
While there will be a drive through window on one side, the other side of the small coffee shop will feature outdoor seating overlooking the children’s playground — which the leisure centre has another planning application pending to improve with new play equipment.
In February, Dragonfly Leisure received £100k in National Lottery funding to refurbish the community space outside the leisure centre, with additional contributions of £30k from Bath and North East Somerset Council, £8k from Midsomer Norton Town Council, £3k from the Food Forest Project, as well as an investment of £27k into the project from Dragonfly Leisure itself.
In addition to new play equipment, the money will also fund a community green space for food to be grown and harvested for free.
The new coffee shop will be funded through the leisure centre’s own finances.
Some, including Westfield councillor Eleanor Jackson, had raised concerns about the demolition of the public toilets, but the council’s planning officers said that, as they had been closed for seven years and other toilets were available, there was no issue.
The proposal had the support of Midsomer Norton North councillor Michael Evans who said: “The coffee shop is an ideal solution to the problem of what to do with this ugly disused toilet block, which was a long-time eyesore when under [Bath and North East Somerset Council] ownership.”