A DANCE studio planned for Hartford Business Centre has been refused permission to move into two neighbouring units.

Well-established Impulse Dancers, which currently operates out of Cuddington with around 100 students on its books, had applied to change the unit’s use from business to education to pave the way for a move the business centre in Chester Road.

Despite outlining the benefits, and receiving pre-application advice that the proposal should be acceptable, the dance school saw its plans rejected due to a ‘high demand’ for business units – a priority use for the council.

A Cheshire West and Chester Council planning officer said: “The majority of premises on the estate are occupied and it is understood from the landlord – the council’s property services team – that demand for these units is high, with any available units being re-let within a matter of months.

“The units tend to be occupied on a long-term basis and units 3 and 4 were advertised for less than a month before they were reserved by the applicant.

“No marketing details have been supplied to contradict the above and there is no evidence that the units are no longer suitable for employment purposes.”

The units would have been repurposed to create two large dance studios, one small studio, a general office and reception area.

The application form indicated that the school was seeking a long-term base in an easily accessible location, with students coming from Hartford, Weaverham and Cuddington and teachers from Manchester and Warrington.

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Key aspect for choosing the unit included open-plan layout and privacy – with a town centre location deemed unsuitable due to shopfronts allowing a view of the studio.

Lessons at the school run from around 4.30pm until 8.30pm weekdays, as well as activity days from 10am to 4pm in the school holidays.

The applicant had promised strict rules on short-stay parking – as well as a liaison group with neighbouring businesses – but CWAC maintain that the plans fall foul of the Local Plan business policies.