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Bishop's Stortford takeaway developer reveals restaurant plan for former White Stuff boutique



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A former fashion store in North Street, Bishop’s Stortford, is set to become a new restaurant.

Cem Camak, who is also behind plans to open a takeaway in Market Square, is asking local planning authority East Herts Council for permission to convert the iconic premises last occupied by White Stuff.

His application for change of use of the double-fronted building, which was originally built as a private house, does not detail what kind of restaurant is planned.

The vacant former White Stuff premises in North Street
The vacant former White Stuff premises in North Street

A statement supporting the application says: “There are no proposed material alterations to the frontage and therefore no effect on the heritage asset. There will also hardly be alterations to the internal parts, except for minor partition configurations.

"It is proposed, however, to extend the rear of the lower ground and ground floors to accommodate extra storage and kitchen facility.”

The grade II listed, three-storey premises are most notable as home to the town's white hart statue – the symbol of Hertfordshire and the emblem of the 1st Herts Light Horse regiment.

The white hart on the old White Stuff building is the emblem of Hertfordshire
The white hart on the old White Stuff building is the emblem of Hertfordshire

It was created in 1862 for the regiment's barracks at Silver Leys. When they were disbanded in 1868, the stag was retrieved by Major William Holland, who mounted it above his grocery shop on the corner of Barrett Lane. It remained there until 1983, when the store was demolished and replaced by HSBC.

The bank paid for the hart to be restored and it was repositioned above what was Boardmans book shop. The business included a stationery store in the building next door, which is currently occupied by Roni’s restaurant, operated by Cozzio Ltd. Director Ahmet Kabayel is also behind Turkish and Italian eatery Pircio in Market Square and Café Rindio in South Street.

The white hart building has its roots in hospitality – it stands on the former site of the Falcon pub, which was demolished in the 1750s as part of a road-widening scheme.

Boardmans occupied the building from 1982 to 2010, when White Stuff moved in for a decade, closing in June 2020. Prior to that, it was a chemist, and the stone carvings on its brick pillars, created in the 1880s, represent herbs used in medicine.

Prezzo is one of a growing number of restaurants and takeaways in North Street
Prezzo is one of a growing number of restaurants and takeaways in North Street

North Street, once filled with shops, is home to an increasing number of eateries: Pizza Express, Côte Brasserie, Prezzo, Giggling Squid, Roni’s and Sheko’s kebabery. Bill’s, which closed during the first Covid-19 lockdown, is set to become a Franco Manca pizza parlour.

Mr Cemak said that his application would extend this “peculiar identity of North Street with its varied eating amenities”.

He has also asked EHC for planning permission to convert the three-storey former Tui premises in Market Square into a hot food outlet on the ground floor with two flats above. The travel agent closed at the end of 2019 and the premises have been empty since.

The former Tui travel agency in Market Square, Bishop's Stortford
The former Tui travel agency in Market Square, Bishop's Stortford


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