Thorley Park residents urge East Herts Council to take away plans for takeaway right by residents' gardens
Plans for a new takeaway on a tiny patch of grass bordering residents' back gardens at Thorley Park have prompted a flood of objections.
Simon Farrugia, of Gillingham, Kent, has applied to East Herts Council for planning permission to build a class A5 shop – for the sale of hot food to be consumed off the premises – on a triangle of land between Ashdale and Irving Close, to the south side of Sainsbury's.
It would be the fourth hot food takeaway shop at the neighbourhood centre, after fish and chip shop Fish'n'Chick'n, kebabery Flames Grill and Chinese outlet Jades.
Bishop's Stortford Town Council leader John Wyllie, who is also a member of East Herts district and Herts county councils, has written to EHC making his opposition clear.
"This parcel of land is on the residential side and not the commercial side of the Thorley Neighbourhood Centre. It is therefore totally inappropriate for development," he said.
"The land is too close to residential properties and will cause a nuisance to residents. Please refuse this application."
Dozens of people have lodged objections to the scheme.
Alison Foggon, of Irving Close, said that the proposed takeaway would be less than a metre from her back garden and would overshadow it as it would rise 1-2 metres above the height of her garden fence.
She is opposed to the application on numerous grounds: noise, smells, rubbish, pollution, late-night opening, potential anti-social behaviour, no access for fire engines in the event of a fire and loss of property value.
"I have a three-year-old daughter who plays in the garden. Two immediate neighbours also have young children," she said. "I've been in touch with multiple neighbours and we are all totally opposed to this. This is completely unacceptable on what is supposed to be a residential street.
"The applicant has been very vague on the application form, ticking 'unknown' to a question about the opening hours, so we don't even know what we are dealing with."
Suzanne Wakefield, of Ashdale, said: "This hot food takeaway application is bang in the middle of two properties. The noise, smells and rubbish created will make it unpleasant.
"Already, if you walk the footpaths there's rubbish from the three takeaways that are already in the Sainsbury's complex. Do we really need any more?
"This is yet another green space around Thorley that people want to build on. Surely they were designated green spaces when Thorley was planned and built and therefore should remain so."
The application is the latest in a series highlighting the uncertain status of green spaces on the estate.
Concerns have been raised by plans to build a house on land at Winchester Close used as a play area and footpath for more than 30 years and a Mathams Drive resident's attempt to enlarge his garden by fencing off part of the greensward fronting Greenhill Park.
The cases have highlighted inconsistencies in land ownership specific to the 1970s estate, so the town council has asked EHC why it failed to adopt the isolated pockets of land from the original builders as it ponders a strategy for safeguarding them from speculative development.