Nelson new chip shop plan is rejected despite 800-name petition

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PLANS to open a traditional fish and chip shop opposite Nelson’s Bus/Rail Interchange have been thrown out by Pendle Council’s Development Management Committee – even though more than 800 signatures of support were presented.

Nibbles sandwich shop owner Paula Gibson (49) says she feels “discriminated against” after her application asking to allow the Railway Street shop to serve hot food was overturned.

She now says she may have to move elsewhere because of the decision.

“I can’t understand it, and people coming in the shop can’t either. I’m just replacing the facility which was there 20 years ago.

“The shop would remain the same with the addition of fish and chips. I think it would bring a new element to the road and would be perfect – people could pick up their fish and chips and then go home on the bus. People do not want kebabs and burgers, and the nearest fish and chip shop is a 20-minute walk away.”

And although she did have support from Coun. John David and Coun. Mohammed Sakib, who said it would bring people to the town, the argument was that it would go against Pendle Council’s Local Plan.

The policy determines the percentage of retail outlets on shopping blocks, and the council seeks to protect the amount of A1 retail properties and limit the amount of A5 uses.

Coun. Eileen Ansar argued that if the plans were approved, it would mean the building could in later years be used as a different type of takeaway and “we could have a street full of takeaways”.

But Coun. Sakib said: “In my opinion it is attracting people to the town centre and that’s what the aim should be. There are lots of takeaways around but no fish and chip shop, and if 800 people have signed a petition then that’s saying something.

“What is the point in even having this meeting if we are just leaving it to policy?”

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal also raised the point from the public gallery that there was an anomaly in the policy whereby if the shop was to lie vacant for three years a person could come back and re-apply for takeaway permission, and it would be likely to be approved.

The application is the third to be turned down in as many years. Although plans were approved by Nelson Committee, it was referred to the Development Management Committee to make a decision because it was contrary to town centre policies.