ONE WOMAN wept inconsolably as councillors raised their hands granting planning permission to a take-away in Lambs Farm Road, Horsham, denying the wishes of vocal residents at Horsham District Council on Tuesday (March 6).
Residents Against the Takeaway (RATT) held up placards during the meeting and barracked councillors with shouts of ‘shame’, ‘disgraceful’ and ‘democracy has died in Horsham’, interspersed with sarcastic applause.
The council approved the change of use from a retail office to a hot food takeaway and the erection of a chimney to service the extract duct.
Les Daniels, leader of RATT, raised concerns about odour from the chimney close to a residential area, noise, anti social behaviour, litter and traffic concerns.
He said: “A full independent report must be obtained before the application can be passed. Any less would amount to an abdication of responsibility.”
While Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East) regretted that a takeaway would ‘blight the area’ for residents, he admitted that even after an exhaustive investigation there were no grounds to reject the proposal on planning grounds, and that the developer might well win any appeal.
Other councillors noted that if the appeals inspector reversed a rejection, they could only suggest conditions rather than impose them, some of which might not be accepted.
“250 residents do not want the disturbance that a takeaway will cause in this neighbourhood,” Mike Bailey, an objector added.
Leonard Crosbie (LDem, Trafalgar), said that the end user was crucial, and without knowing whether it would be a fish and chip shop or Indian takeaway he felt uncomfortable in making a decision.
He explained: “To me this is hypothetical. We are a planning committee, we deal with facts here.”
Clive Stevens, who is disabled and lives above the sports shop a door from the proposed site, spoke of his frustration at proposals to build a chimney that would block access to his property.
Some shouted that they would never vote for any of the councillors again, while others waved their inhalers in the air.
Liz Kitchen (Con, Rusper and Colgate), chairman of the development control (north) committee, said: “Following investigations, there were no sustainable grounds for refusal, however, the committee resolved to apply a number of conditions to the grant of planning permission, following the submission of some further details.
“These conditions would relate to the control of odours and cooking methods, hours of use, details of bollards on the forecourt and a plan to manage litter on the forecourt amongst other matters.”
Helena Croft (Con, Roffey North) attempted a motion to refuse the plans, but could not find a seconder.