Sedgemoor planners have deferred a decision to change the former hairdressers on West Quay to a late night chicken takeaway. The committee were not convinced that adequate waste management measures had been thought about and concerns were expressed about the lack of fire escape and the possible contribution to town centre anti social behaviour. Councillor Kath Pearce (Labour, Westover) and Cllr Li Gibson (Labour, Eastover) spoke against the plans and were supported by councillors Bill Revans (Lib Dem, North Petherton) and Mike Murphy (Lib Dem, Burnham North) and enough uncertainty in the committees mind was sown for them to consider deferring the application. Some councillors however were very keen for the proposal to go ahead, a charge led by Cllr Alaister Hendry (Con, Burnham South) who said “When have you ever seen a takeaway catch fire” and in relation to anti social behaviour “You can’t stop kids being silly”. The deferral was supported 13 votes to 1 against and 1 abstention.
Councillor Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) spoke against the application and his full speech is recorded here.
“I am speaking as town and district ward councillor for Westover to object to this application
West Quay is a key focal point for our new town centre and has been so since the disaster of 2011 when the wall there collapsed but since when we were able to rebuild the street as a new quayside pedestrian zone with a peaceful daytime and early evening café culture-even a regular stopping off point for cyclists on the national cycle route.
It’s a place where traders, residents and visitors all work, live and socialise together and marks a new vision for a welcoming tourist friendly, greener town centre. We want to nurture that street scene and we’d like planners to recognize and help us achieve this.
So we do not want an out of character chicken takeaway there and we would ask the owner and the applicant to think again about what could better be put in this empty unit-which of course does need filling. But not with just anything.
Ideally the applicant should withdraw his proposal and if not then for you today to reject it.
- The proposed takeaway is not in character with the day time and early evening café culture we are trying to create
- The area is beset by late evening anti-social behaviour and introducing a takeaway into this will only exacerbate things.
- Takeaways are generally situated on routes home. This location would have the opposite effect and would create a ‘retainer’ in the town centre next door to a busy pub.
- Issues of waste disposal have been thrown into confusion by the applicants failure to appreciate that his proposed rear egress was in fact onto land owned by another person – in this case the owner of the Castle House development, who will not allow access. The initial proposal -through a brick wall and over a metre from the ground was amended on 5th November to take account of this, but now there is no satisfactory solution for waste disposal at all other than through the front of the premises onto west Quay creating a major problem with increased and self policed food waste inevitably attracting even more of the usual rats and seagulls that plague the area
- Late night opening would not just disturb the peace of West Quay residents-several of who work early shifts- but there is further concern from residents of nearby Binford place which is not part of the pedestrianization but where residents already suffer from ASB in an area which is number 1 on the town councils police priority list , and who fear that their street would then become a cluttered parking place for takeaway customers and that the quayside would garner an even worse reputation for late evening disturbances
- I am also concerned at the lack of observation from Highways who know full well that there are ongoing complaints about vehicle access to this site to which their inaction has contributed. Yet more unpoliced access by vehicles would further undermine the pedestrian nature of the quayside and the suggestion that vehicles collecting and delivering takeaways should be restricted to the north end of West Quay with access to the premises solely on foot might sound good but how will this be policed at those late hours? It won’t be.
- Residents and other traders do not want this application to go any further. We have discussed alternative solutions and conditions with the owner and we know that he doesn’t want to upset his neighbours but the view remains that we would prefer this NOT to be a takeaway, maybe a small café, and so are asking him to withdraw the application or you to recognize the importance of this streetscene for the new Bridgwater and not to allow this anomaly to go ahead.
Please recognize the popular case for rejection and support the traders, residents, local councillors and Town Council in their objection and turn down this application so that the owner and applicant can think again as to what would be for the best for everyone in this location.”