EXCLUSIVE: Successful restaurant chain sets its sights on Cheltenham
By Laura Enfield | 22nd September 2023
A new Thai restaurant looks set to open in Cheltenham.
Plans have been approved this week for the former TM Lewin shop in the Promenade to be taken over by a London-based food chain.
Rosa's Thai wants to makeover the three-storey unit and open a branch serving up its mix of traditional and modern dishes.
Its menu includes popcorn shrimp with sriracha mayo, Tom Yum noodles, papaya salad, red duck pineapple curry and Thai churros served with condensed milk.
Founded in 2008 in London by Thai British chef Saiphin Moore, the brand has undergone rapid expansion and now has 40 locations across the country. This year alone it has opened restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford, Leamington Spa, Bath and Westfield White City.
It has now set its sights on Cheltenham and has overcome the planning hurdle.
Two planning applications for alterations to the shopfront, installation and display of signage and installation of plant and equipment were approved by Cheltenham Borough Council on Tuesday.
No residents objected to the plans but concerns had been raised about the impact on the Grade II Listed building which sits within the Central Conservation Area.
Cheltenham Civic Society threw shade on proposals to paint the shopfront the brand's signature 'signal red'. It said the bright colour was not "appropriate" for the area and the colour was revised to 'Farrow and Ball green smoke'.
It also objected to the illumination of an external sign and its concerns were backed by the council's conservation officer who said it was contrary to planning policy.
The officer also identified harm to the listed building as a result of the proposed alterations to the rear elevation window and some of the proposed internal works and signage.
However, planning officer Ben Warren said on balance the plans were acceptable as the halo illumination sign only created a ''glow' around each letter rather than the glare of internal illumination.
His report said: "The benefit of the applications would be the occupation of an empty retail unit, located in one of Cheltenham's main shopping thoroughfares, which would provide significant benefits to the residents of Cheltenham, as well as supporting the vitality of the town centre."
The shop has sat empty since men's fashion retailer TMLewin left town. The 124-year-old British company was a victim of the Covid pandemic with none of its shops reopening after lockdown.
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