East Herts Council rejects shopfront plans for new steakhouse in Bishop's Stortford
Plans to install a new steakhouse shopfront in Bishop's Stortford town centre have been blocked by East Herts Council.
The local planning authority has refused an application from the owner of Pircio, the Italian and Turkish restaurant in Market Square, to transform the former Holland and Barrett outlet in South Street.
It last operated as Wattle & Co, an Australian-inspired cafe which closed in March 2018 after six months in business, despite winning praise for its artisan coffee, loose-leaf teas and locally sourced organic and seasonal food dishes.
Pircio owner Ahmet Kabayel wanted to install a reconfigured aluminium shopfront for his new venture, but EHC planning officers concluded it was "detrimental to the conservation area".
They concluded: "The area has a mix of historic and more contemporary buildings, and it is noted that some of the original shopfronts to the historic buildings have already been replaced.
"However, the application unit appears to have retained its traditional timber-framed frontage, albeit with a replacement entrance door which seems to date from the 1960s. No information has been provided that would indicate that the existing shopfront is not capable of being retained.
"The proposed shopfront would be modern in appearance and constructed in non-traditional materials. The design, proportions and materials... are out of keeping with and unsympathetic to the host building."
Mr Kabayel has previously fallen foul of EHC planners at Pircio. In February, proposals for an outside eating area hit the deck for a second time.
In 2017, the district council refused retrospective planning permission for decking, a ramp, lighting and a water feature at the former Drill Hall and health centre.
After an appeal by Pircio, a Government inspector backed the local authority and the restaurant was ordered to remove the unauthorised additions.
Officers decided an amended plan to retain some of the raised decking and extend it still contravened planning policy for the conservation area.