PLANS for a new family-run wine bar in the centre of Kendal have been given the green light.

Ronnie Mullin, of the popular Factory Tap bar on Aynam Road, submitted the plans to South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) in November 2022.

The new wine bar, called 5 O’Clock Somewhere, will be located at 55 Finkle Street, bookending the new Spinning Jennies development in the former Beales department store.

In Cumbria: Ronnie Mullin is the owner of The Factory TapRonnie Mullin is the owner of The Factory Tap (Image: Newsquest)

The report with the SLDC Planning Decision Notice says: "The proposed development would involve the loss of a former shop and the formation of a drinking establishment.

"This is not the preferred location for non-retail town centre uses, which are directed towards the town centre but outside of the primary shopping areas.

READ MORE: Plans revealed for new wine bar that will 'revitalise the heart of Kendal'

"In this case, the application site relates to part of a former department extending from 35 to 55 Finkle Street, which closed in March 2020 and has not seen active use since.

"This is reflective of the challenging retail sector across Kendal and indeed the country.

"For instance, beyond the application site, there are two other vacant units along Finkle Street and more on adjoining streets and within the Westmorland Shopping Centre."

The report explains how recent changes in planning law have made Change of Use applications less proscriptive.

It says: "The amendments to the Use Classes Order reflect a clear desire from national government to move beyond traditional conceptions of town centres as primarily retail destinations to a wider variety of uses.

"This includes both main town centre and residential uses, which it is assumed will add vitality and viability to declining town centres.

"Therefore, the proposed use would contribute towards enhancing the vitality, viability and sustainability of the town centre, including the night-time economy, which could potentially enhance and support the primary shopping area and frontage itself.

Of the visual impact of the proposal, the report says: "40 to 55 Finkle Street is a large building with an unashamedly modernist appearance that is utterly in conflict with the rest of the street.

"The design of this building shows a contemptuous disregard for its townscape context resulting in significant harm to the traditional character of the street.

"Moreover, its long term vacancy detracts from the vitality of this part of Finkle Street."