Town council opposition causes blow to prospect of Domino's Pizza opening in Saffron Walden
PUBLISHED: 10:09 12 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:09 12 August 2014
Domino's Pizza received the thumbs down from town councillors last week after they opposed the takeaway giant's bid to open a restaurant in Saffron Walden.
The national chain has served up an application for a takeaway outlet on Market Walk, in the premises vacated by Evergreen Florists.
Of chief concern to Saffron Walden Town Council’s planning was the potential disruption Domino’s would cause to firefighters at the Hill Street fire station.
Councillor Heather Asker was worried customers would block fire engines from getting out of the town centre to reach emergencies by pulling up outside in their cars.
She said: “Access to the fire station should be paramount. I don’t think customers will consider that when they’re stopping off to pick up pizzas.
“We’ve got to consider that first and foremost because it’s going to be a long time before the fire station relocates elsewhere.”
Cllr Asker’s view was shared by a number of members of the public, whose objection letters were read out by chairman Cllr Ben Balliger.
Mayor Sandra Eden did not believe the town needed another hot food takeaway. She said: “I think it’s going to lower the tone, quite frankly.
“I agree about the parking near the fire station. I think it’s a heinous thing to put it smack bang there – it’s going to cause all sorts of problems.”
Cllr Balliger raised the issue of the loss of retail space, before adding: “Even if we were content with that, it’s a no-go because of the fire station nearby.”
The town council objected to the application on the grounds that the facility would attract parked cars for collection and delivery on George Street and Hill Street and impede the firefighters from exiting their premises in an emergency.
Councillors also felt it would “have a materially adverse effect on the reasonable occupation and enjoyment of a residential or other sensitive property, as a result of loss of privacy, loss of daylight, overbearing impact or overshadowing”.
Domino’s say the takeaway outlet would create up to 35 jobs.
In its submission statement to Uttlesford District Council (UDC), the company said: “The unit in question has been vacant since July 2013 with very limited interest from any viable Class A1 operator to occupy the premises.
“Therefore in its current form, the unit does not maintain or enhance the role of Saffron Walden as a retail service centre.
“The proposal to occupy the unit by Domino’s can only increase footfall within the area and reinforce the town centre as a retail service centre.”
The application has been called in to UDC and is expected to go before the planning committee on Wednesday, August 20.