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Nando's sets its sights on new restaurant in Bishop's Stortford

Nando’s is hoping to spice up Bishop’s Stortford town centre with a restaurant in Potter Street.

The South African chain, famed for its Portuguese-style peri-peri chicken, wants to open abranch in an empty shop next to Mountain Warehouse, created as part of Jackson Square’srevamp.

Precinct owner Legal and General Assurance (Pensions Management) Ltd has submitted a planning application to East Herts Council for change of use so the retail unit (class A1) can be used as a restaurant (A3).

A spokesman for Nando’s confirmed that while opening was not imminent, plans were in place for later in the year.

Michael Smith, Jackson Square’s manager, is determined not to count his chickens before a deal is finalised.

“Whilst we are always excited to be able to share news of all our forthcoming openings with our community, we are unable to make comment at this stage," he said.

"It’s certainly great to hear that our town is being recognised by such a brand as this will only continue to improve the offer we have available for the people of Bishop’s Stortford.”

The town council has made no objection to the shop switch, but EHC's environmental health department has voiced concerns about noise and odour control – despite submission of a risk assessment and specification for the proposed kitchen extraction as part of the plans.

In response, the applicant said: “The proposed tenant is Nando’s, who uses specialist contractors to design and install all the extraction, ventilation and cooling systems across their entire portfolio of restaurants.”

Nevertheless, the department has called for a “robust” noise assessment to support the application.

The chain, founded in 1987, has more than 1,000 outlets in 35 countries, with around a third of these in the UK, where the first branch opened in 1992.

Neighbouring Eat17, the Spar grocery store and street food market which opened in October 2017, has voiced concerns about the change of use. Two of its hot food vendors – Buffalo Joe’s and JRK – sell spiced chicken.

Founder James Brundle has told EHC: “We made a seven-figure investment into the project, creating something truly special that will be the go-to place for residents and people visiting the town. We didn't take this decision lightly and needed to ensure that our concept was in the correct location to offer a bar and food concept.

"We saw the units next door were A1 and this was part of the decision-making process. This potentially won’t just affect us but also the several other local food businesses within our site and is their sole source of income.”

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