Too many takeaways here already, residents insist
Cllr Ian Boulton outside the former charity shop Paws in the High Street, which Erkan Cil hopes to rent out
THE new owner of the former Paws charity shop in Staple Hill has insisted a take-away would only be a 'plan B' option for the site.
Erkan Cil, a father-of-three from Mangotsfield, has applied to South Gloucestershire Council for permission to change the use of 121 High Street into a takeaway and add an extractor flue at the back of the building.
People living nearby say there are already too many fast-food shops along the main road and fear the area will become a magnet for late-night revellers seeking a bite to eat.
They also have concerns about litter which could attract vermin as well as fears it will encourage local schoochildren to eat unhealthily.
But Mr Cil has told Downend Voice the last thing he want to do is upset residents and believes some of his comments reported in another publication have been misinterpreted.
He said: “I think there has been a misunderstanding as English is not my first language. I never said people should move away. What I did say is that if people don't want noise and smells they shouldn't really be living on a main road which is already a busy road with noise pollution. You can't avoid noise and smells there; it's a lively high street.
“I have been so upset – I couldn't get to sleep last night. The last thing I want is to upset residents.
"I'm a resident myself and have been living nearby for the past 25 years.
“I am open to any business idea. All I want is for the shop not to be empty; that's my priority.
“It might not be a takeaway. I've had a couple of calls about putting a hairdresser there but reading the comments on the council's website, people don't want that either because there's too many already.
“I applied for the change of use so I could get more choice of people who want to rent it out. I wanted to keep my options open – a takeaway is my plan B.”
A campaign against a takeaway has been started by Staple Hill and Mangotsfield councillor Ian Boulton who is encouraging locals to have their say via South Gloucestershire Council's website.
Already the council has received more than 100 objections, with residents also taking to social media to express their concerns.
Cllr Boulton told the Voice: “The diversity of the independent traders on our High Street is something that many local people value; however, the unchecked conversion of shops into fast food outlets is undoubtedly affecting the character and vibrancy of our town centre.
“While I’m hoping that the planners will consider the many objections that have been submitted by concerned residents we must also recognise that the deregulation of planning laws in recent years has made objecting to new applications very difficult. Therefore I hope that everyone who wants to keep our High Street special will take a few moments to support us and register their objection on the South Gloucestershire Council website.”
High Street and Broad Street already have their fair share of takeaways including Miss Millie's and Marmariz Kebab and Pizza House, both of which open late and are a stone's throw away from the application site.
Mr Cil said he plans to ask Cllr Boulton for a meeting in an effort to defuse the situation.