Issued: February 6, 2018
Parish council opposes cafe plans
Plans to turn part of the former post office in High Road, North Weald, into a cafe are being opposed by the parish council.
The same applicant whose two previous applications to use the premises at 38 High Road as a take-away were rejected by the district council has now submitted proposals to convert part of the ground-floor into a cafe.
The opening hours, when compared to the take-away plans, have been shortened, to 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
However councillors continue to have concerns over the parking - with only two parking spaces to be provided - and ventilation proposals, including the removal of grease and fat.
The planning committee voted unanimously to object to the latest application.
Councillor George Mulliner, speaking at Monday's committee meeting, raised concerns over parking, fearing customers would park in the village hall car park.
"I think parking is one of the main issues," he said.
Council vice-chairman Brian Eldridge said: "I can't see much difference to the previous application."
Council chairman Alan Buckley asked: "What's the difference between a cafe and a takeaway?"
He added the dispersal of grease and fat is already a problem in the area.
He said: "It's notorious in that area. We have constant problems with grease and fat coming from hot food outlets. If this carries on, this will just add to the problem we've already got."
Councillor Andy Tyler said: "The application states that 98 per cent of smells will be eliminated - it's the other two per cent that will cause the problem. It's just not right to have this in a residential area."
Councillor Sheila Jackman said the parish council should re-submit its list of hot and cold food outlets which are already in the village.
"I don't see any reason why those objections shouldn't be repeated this time."
Parish council clerk Sue De Luca said she was aware of 19 villagers who have written to the district council highlighting issues with smells and parking saying such a use was "not right" for the village.
The meeting heard that the planning definition and class use for a cafe stated it is for on-food sales only, while take-away use, which had been the issue with the two previous applications, was for the sale of hot food off the premises.
Councillor Dave Stallan said: "The issue of competition is not a planning reason."
He added: "While I support the comments (about parking)... that was not one of the reasons why it was refused (by the district council).
"It weakens the case when highways raise no objection."