PEOPLE living in one of South Tyneside’s newest des-res estates have blasted plans for a controversial chippy.
Council planners had originally blocked a bid to convert a retail unit into a fish and chip restaurant and takeaway in Sea Winnings Way on Westoe Crown Village.
But the Town Hall judgement has now been overruled by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal.
It’s a decision which has angered some families living in the development - where properties go for upwards of £120,000 - who fear a fish and chip shop could prove a fire risk to people living in flats above it as well as detract from their homes.
Angry resident Dave Scholey told the Gazette there are already more than enough fish and chip shops in the town.
And he fears the takeaway will become a magnet for local schoolchildren, result in “horrible odours”, prove a fire risk for homeowners and lower the value of properties in the area.
Mr Scholey said: “This was initially refused by the council’s planning committee but that decision has now been overturned by a non-elected body. That cannot be right. We are supposed to promoting healthy eating in a bid to reduce obesity, but this outlet is near to Westoe Infant and Junior School. Kids will inevitably be drawn to it.
“We were told when we bought our properties that there would never be a fast food outlet in the area.
“Now this decision will reduce of the value of our homes.
“There are eight flats above this unit and they would be at direct risk from an oil-based fire which would prove very difficult for the fire department to tackle.
“I’d ask if we really need another fish and chip shop in the area. I’d say it was the last thing we need.”
The original application to change the unit from retail to a takeaway was rejected by the council last June. But an appeal by Jaswant Dillon against that decision proved successful.
Mr Scholey has ruled out appealing the inspector’s judgement to the High Court on cost grounds.
Now he now plans to contact the relevant letting agency to investigate the legality of the unit’s change of use.
But his views are not shared by Lisa Duncan, who runs the Salon 5 hairdressers in Sea Winnings Way.
She said: “Many of the retail units are empty and it’s as if there are some people who are determined to oppose anything to fill them.
“It’s a very negative approach. I pay £1,300 a month in rent and there are rates on top of that. We need these units filled.”
The government inspector’s report concludes: “Subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions, the proposed development would safeguard the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers of the first and second floor units above the appeal site, having regard to noise, disturbance and odour.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council confirmed the inspector’s decision, but declined to comment further.