‘Appalling’ development threatens the future of much-used car garage which has been trading since 1919
PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 January 2017
Hundreds of people have voiced their opposition to an “appalling” development which would “destroy the character” of a town.
Gidea Park Motors, Main Road, Gidea Park, which has been trading for nearly a century, faces an uncertain future with developers hoping to build on the plot of land.
After demolishing the garage, the landlords of Gidea Park Motors are proposing a three-storey building for five shops on the ground level with nine apartments above, and associated parking.
Ray Calcutt, who has owned Gidea Park Motors for 22 years, says the garage has received more than 700 customer responses objecting to the proposal, with more in the form of letters.
He said: “From the moment we told our customers, I was overwhelmed with the genuine and deep affection the locality showed for our business and what many call ‘the village’.
“Our premises bring lively activity to the shopping area and but frankly I cannot see any sense whatsoever in closing Gidea Park Motors after 100 years under several tenants, to replace it with unwanted lock-up shops and a totally inappropriate building.
“The application is, in our view, an appalling blight on the street scene and requires a thoroughly new approach to blend with and retain the character of the very heart of Gidea Park’s conservation area.”
The Gidea Park Civic Society, (GPCS) which has more than 500 members, has also voiced its strong objections.
In a letter sent to the landlords of Gidea Park Motors, the society expressed its disapproval describing the development as “wholly unsuitable”.
The GPCS said: “The present garage provides, as it has for many years, a well used facility for the residents, including society members, as well as for the businesses of Gidea Park.
“The garage contributes considerably to the vibrancy and diversity of the retail services provided in the Gidea Park area.
“If there were to be a change of use of this site our immediate reaction to your plans is that the proposed building would be wholly unsuitable.”
“The proposed building would neither preserve nor enhance this presently attractive village appearance and ambience.”
Businesses in the town have also reacted negatively with the feeling more shops could add to the woes of those already in Main Road, which include 11 food premises within 200m of each other.
The Recorder contacted the agents behind the proposal but they did not respond.
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