Councillors have overturned South Ayrshire planners’ refusal of an application for a hot food takeaway in a Prestwick general store.

Planners, under delegated powers, refused the application to change part of the Keystore in Adamton Road North to sell hot food, such as chips, burgers, fried chicken and breakfast boxes/rolls to take away.

This change was determined by planners to be ‘representative of an independent hot food takeaway, rather than a secondary offering to the retail use of the premises’.

An initial application was refused, with concerns about noise among other objections.

A subsequent re-application, together with a noise assessment and mitigations, was once again refused, with planners basing the decision on local and national planning guidance, arguing that it would have a detrimental impact on residents.

However, during an appeal hearing, councillors backed the applicant and criticised some of the planning officer’s assessments.

Councillors argued that the view that likened the change of use to an independent stand-alone takeaway rather than a ‘secondary’ offering in the store was questionable.

They also pointed out that photographs of cars parked outside the premises could not be attributed to the introduction of the takeaway.

Local Review Body chair, Councillor Kenny Bell, was critical of the assessment of the hot food takeaway as being the equivalent of a stand-alone business.

He said: “I would challenge that statement. There is nothing to back up that it is an independent food takeaway when the evidence is clear that it is a mini market that sell other things.

“I think that undermines the recommendation.”

Independent Councillor Alec Clark asked planning officer James Hall whether there was information around the reasons for the cars parked, pointing out there is also a hairdressers adjacent.

Mr Hall said he had no information on the purposes, prompting Cllr Clark to say ‘it is hard to take that on board as evidence’.

Cllr Clark also questioned why there were objections from outwith Prestwick.

A total of 217 representations were made, with 169 in support of the application, 46 objecting and two neutral.

The objections centred around traffic issues, litter, noise, and the impact on residents.

He said: “A point that I picked up from the report, that there’s non-local objections, from Grangemouth, Gorebridge in Midlothian, Glasgow, Cumnock and Troon.

“I mean, you would wonder why there would be objections coming from these particular places.”

Some of the objections from people living elsewhere were clear that they had relatives in the area.

Similarly, there were several messages of support from people living outwith the area.

Conservative Councillor Alan Lamont asked whether there was a strict criteria within planning guidance around the number of takeaways and commercial premises within a residential area.

Mr Hall responded: “There is no hard and fast standard. We look at each case on its merits, looking at the individual impact of each proposal and its effects on the residential character and amenity of the area.

“The existing units on site have long standing consensual uses.”

Cllr Bell pointed out: “It’s not as if it is a new hot food takeaway or a new store. There has been a store there for a number of years. The hot food element is the new bit.”

Cllr Lamont also pointed out that the planners’ view that the existing commercial premises were ‘making up the fabric of the community’ included the store, albeit under different guises.

Councillor Martin Kilbride said he estimated that the hot food element would only make up about 10 per cent of the services provided, adding that there had been a lot of investment in the business. 

The Local Review Body agreed to overturn the planning officers’ refusal and approve the change of use.