Tuesday, 18 May 2021

New pizza restaurant not needed, say councillors

New pizza restaurant not needed, say councillors

A NEW pizza restaurant in Henley has been opposed by town councillors, who say it’s not needed.

Stable 34 has applied for planning permission to convert the former Cherwell Windows premises in Hart Street, which has been empty for two years.

It has also applied for permission to erect a freestanding kitchen inside a wooden kiosk at the back of the building, which is Grade II listed.

Henley Town Council’s planning committee recommended the application is rejected.

Mayor Ken Arlett said: “We’ve got so many restaurants now. We have some top-line restaurants in the town and at this moment in time I don’t believe we want any more.

“We have pubs and restaurants doing good food, there’s ample. What we’re missing is retail.”

He said the applicants pointed out how long the unit had been vacant but he felt this was the concern of the landlord.

“If they don’t want to take a lower rent that’s up to them,” he said. “I don’t think that should be a reason for a change of use.”

Michelle Thomas, who chairs the committee, said: “It’s pizza takeaways and ale and we’ve got plenty of pizza and ale in the town.

“I don’t like the freestanding kitchen — I think it should be inside the building not in the garden.”

Kevin and Caroline Wood, who live in Hart Street, have objected, saying they already “suffer” from the Hart Street Tavern being able to use its garden area until 10pm.

Mr Wood said: “The sound from their clients is a constant background annoyance at times when we would like to enjoy our patio and garden and when our children need to get to bed.”

He said the proposed restaurant would be closer to their property and there would be noise from the “portable shed” being used for cooking and waiting staff going in and out of the back doors.

“We fear that the real intention of the proposal is to fully open up the garden area for clients to eat and drink within,” he said.

“This would obviously bring a far greater level of nuisance noise with it.

“We already have a very high concentration of bars and restaurants in our area of this street, which is the most densely populated part of the town — enough is enough.”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said he supported the application but was concerned about more trade waste in the town centre.

“We’ve had issues with Shellfish Cow and another restaurant in Market Place,” he said.

“We really have got to start putting down markers about waste. This application has no reference to how they are going to handle wet waste, dry waste, or who the waste carrier will be.”

Councillor Will Hamilton added: “We should be doing everything we can to support the business but I do feel we’ve got to get to grips with the waste problem in Hart Street.

“We have got to find a solution to the dry waste, wet waste, whether it’s picked up between 8am or 9am or at night, and if it’s one truck or five.

“What we should have is a preferred supplier the new business takes on otherwise I can see this will go down the same route as Shellfish Cow and all the other restaurants which started a business but don’t have the space to store waste before it’s collected.”

The committee voted by four votes to two, with one abstention, to recommend refusal of the application. It also recommended refusal of an application by J & R Langton to change the use of a shop unit in Friday Street to a two-bedroom house on the grounds of loss of a retail space.

The grade II listed property used to be Vintage Vogue, a clothes shop, and the Willow Dress Agency before closing in 2018.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “I just don’t like the change of use from a shop to residential — it’s just happening far too much. Friday Street is a lovely street where they have coffee shops and retail outlets and we should try to retain as much of these as we possibly can.”

Cllr Arlett said: “They haven’t included anywhere in the application about where they propose to park the cars.

“I’m fed up of hearing that people who live in towns don’t own cars. I still believe a lot of people will have a car whether they live in a flat or a house.”

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, is due to make the final decision on both applications next month.

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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