Concerns raised over takeaway bid

The archway through to the car park behind Morpeth Lodge B&B.
The archway through to the car park behind Morpeth Lodge B&B.

A proposal to change part of a Morpeth bed and breakfast into a takeaway has been branded ‘ludicrous’ by one of the neighbours who has objected, writes Ben O’Connell, Local Democracy Reporter.

Applicant Chang Min (Michael) Wang is seeking permission for a change of use in order to convert a portion of the ground floor of Morpeth Lodge Bed and Breakfast, on Staithes Lane, into a takeaway restaurant.

But the plans have sparked concerns over parking, noise, smells and other disturbances, among other issues.

The planned hours of operation are 11am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and 4pm to 11pm on Sunday.

Mr Wang also wants to put up a new sign on the front of the building where the customer service area would be and erect a timber lean-to shed for storage in the rear walled courtyard. However, the proposal makes no change to the footprint size of the existing building.

Parking is available to the rear of the B&B – with three of the 13 bays to be allocated for takeaway staff – and across Staithes Lane in the long-stay car park under the Morrisons supermarket.

Details of ventilation and extraction, with an extension to the existing flue to take extracted fumes away at a level above the ridge height included in the proposal, as well as a noise impact assessment are included with the application.

A design and access statement states: ‘The surrounding area comprises of mixed development and is eminently suitable for the proposal.’

However, a number of residents who have lodged objections disagree with this assertion, not least Lynne Storey, who lives in one of the Swinney’s Court flats, whose shared patio/garden adjoins the Morpeth Lodge car park.

“I was very surprised when I got the letter from planning. I just think the whole thing is ludicrous,” she said. “I can’t believe they would even contemplate putting a Chinese takeaway here.”

The 72-year-old explained that she already has ‘a lot of bother’ with noise and cars parking on the pavement right outside her bedroom window, which is on Staithes Lane, the next property down from the bed and breakfast.

Mrs Storey added: “They say parking won’t be a problem because of the Morrisons car park, but that closes at 10pm. It’s no good to say it won’t happen because I have had it with the bed and breakfast so I will have it with the takeaway.

“I won’t be able to sit in my garden in the summer or leave my windows and doors open, or be able to put any washing out.

“It’s absolutely crazy that anyone would want to do it in such a confined area and in such a residential area. There will be all kinds of problems.”

As well as eight residents, Morpeth Civic Society has objected to the plans, claiming the site is ‘a bad location’ for takeaway use.

Ben O’Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service