PLANNERS have rejected an application to turn a former Darlington barber shop into a takeaway for a second time.

A revised application to convert the boarded-up shop in Belvedere Road, Darlington, into a Thai takeaway was submitted to Darlington Borough Council after town hall planning officers refused it under delegated powers in May.

The application had attracted 35 letters of objection from residents living close by who feared the takeaway would attract antisocial behaviour and lead to an increase in traffic and noise problems.

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They also raised concerns over possible smells coming from the takeaway and the possibility of increased litter in the area.

The council’s planning applications committee refused the application when it met today (Wednesday, August 27). However the applicant said he would appeal against the decision.

Speaking during the meeting, nearby resident Stephen Dunn, said he strongly opposed the plans as a large number of fast food businesses were already available nearby.

“I don’t see why it should be in a residential area,” he said.

“I know that the property has been vacant for a number of years and needs to be developed, but not into a fast food takeaway – it is not wanted in my opinion.”

The property has been empty for 15 years and has attracted vandals.

As a result supporters said they would welcome the property being brought back into use as it has become an eyesore.

They also said it is a ten-minute walk to the takeaways in Victoria Road and that Thai food would be a welcome addition to what is already on offer.

Planning officer Dave Coates said although 27 emails had been received in support, some appeared to be fake as they were not sent from a valid email account.

Graham Turner, a planning consultant for the applicant, said odour neutralisers would be installed and steps would be taken to reduce noise pollution.

He added: “The applicant is keen to provide whatever equipment is needed to comply with Environmental Health.”

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, ward member for Park East, objected on behalf of her residents.

Speaking after the meeting she said: “I think it is good news for the residents of the area.

“My ward councillor and I have been campaigning for 12 years to get that building improved because it is an eyesore.

“We would welcome a conversion that would be acceptable to the local residents, but this clearly wasn’t acceptable.”