Appeal launched to build takeaway at West Quay, Bridgwater

Written by on January 27, 2021

PLANS to open a fried chicken takeaway in Bridgwater town centre could still go ahead after an appeal was lodged to overturn the council’s decision.

Bridgwater resident Mudassar Raja put forward plans to convert the former Gentleman’s Room hairdressers on West Quay into a takeaway selling fried chicken.

Sedgemoor District Council refused the plans in December 2020, arguing the new business would be out of keeping with the town centre.

Mr Raja has now lodged an appeal against the council to the Planning Inspectorate, meaning the decision could end up being reversed.

The plans were narrowly refused by the council’s development committee when it convened virtually on December 8, citing its “adverse impact” on neighbouring residents due to “noise, disturbance, odour and fumes”.

Councillor Kathy Pearce argued: “No-one wants to see West Quay thriving more than me.

“But I don’t believe this is the right application for this site – it’s a problem if the waste is stored outside, and it’s a problem if it’s stored inside. It will exacerbate problems that already exist.”

Councillor Li Gibson added: “I don’t know if you’ve seen the ‘pick-up-quick’ going on with the chicken shop or the Blake fish bar – there’s endless cars idling their engines all the time, and you’ll get more of that here.”

Councillor Alastair Hendry warned at the time that the council would struggle to defend refusing these plans at an appeal, arguing there was “no valid reason” in planning law to stop the redevelopment.

Michael Shepherd of Shattock Associates (which is representing Mr Raja) told the committee that the change was not controversial due to the premises’ proximity to The Fountain Inn public house and other similar businesses.

He said: “The location is also in the town centre and will help maintain the vibrancy of the town centre location going forward.

“Similarly, numerous restaurants and takeaways exist near to the premises, and as such this proposal will not worsen any perceived noise issues from such premises.”

Notice of the appeal was published ahead of a development committee meeting due to take place on February 2.

Due to ongoing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, a decision on the West Quay site is likely to be taken by written representations rather than a formal public inquiry.

The Planning Inspectorate is expected to publish its ruling later in the year.

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