Takeaway agreed for Harold Hill despite objections
A TAKEAWAY shop was given approval in Harold Hill by the council’s planning committee - despite most members being against it.
The proposal for a fish and chip shop in Tennyson Road received largely negative reaction from members at the Regulatory Services Committee meeting on Thursday, December 9.
They sympathised with residents’ and Heaton ward Councillor Denis O’Flynn’s concerns about littering, anti-social behaviour, traffic congestion and the potential interference of smells and noise.
The currently vacant unit, which has a flat above, needed approval to change its use to a hot food takeaway after previously housing a business providing financial and professional services.
But the majority feared smelly fumes would filter into the upstairs flat from the “chimney-like feature” encasing the extract duct which was proposed to run inside the flat from the downstairs takeaway.
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Councillor June Alexander (Cranham, RA) likened the site to a similar one in Cranham and said “the smell is atrocious”.
Councillor Jeff Brace (Elm Park, Con) was also concerned about the fire risk it could cause if not cleaned and maintained properly - but planning officers said this was not an issue for the Regulatory Services Committee, but a matter for the Building Regulations department.
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Matthew Bannister, who lives above the small shopping parade, explained the area had a history of anti-social behaviour problems and said: “We are extremely concerned a take-away would bring anti-social behaviour back. Especially with the lack of inside seating.”
He said there were concerns it would encourage youths to loiter in the area, particularly on the staircase to the flats which could intimidate residents, and drop litter.
He added: “Why not have a hairdresser, dentist or computer shop? Not a takeaway. In a time when we’re trying to reduce childhood obesity do we really need another outlet to ply our children with fried fatty junk food?”
Councillor Denis O’Flynn mirrored Mr Bannister’s concerns and referred to the comment from police that they said there were no anti-social behaviour concerns.
Cllr O’Flynn said: “I’ve been a councillor here on and off for 40 years and I’m in the area at least six days a week. I don’t think I’ve even seen the presence of the police in the last 18months.”
The shop would be allowed to open from 11am to 7pm Mondays to Saturdays and not at all on Sundays or public holidays.
Councillor Paul McGeary (Heaton, Lab) was concerned the hours would result in an influx of customers going to get their dinner just before closing time which he feared would create parking mayhem.
But the planning officers said without proof there were existing parking problems or anti-social behaviour issues, the objections would not stand up at appeal if members refused the proposal.
Councillor Barry Tebbutt (Brooklands, Con) said: “My heart says no but unfortunately the evidence says yes.”
Following an in-depth hour-long discussion Chairman Councillor Barry Oddy (Elm Park, Con) said: “If we were going to come up with a reason for refusal that holds water we would have come up with it by now. I don’t think they’re going to open with those hours anyway.”
The final vote was approved by the seven Tory members with three objections from the Residents Association’s members Councillor Nic Dodin (Hacton, RA) and Cllr Alexander who were standing in for Councillor Linda Hawthorn and Councillor Brian Eagling and Labour’s Cllr McGeary.