Don’t take away my takeaway, says Biggleswade curry house boss

Hammad Khan and two of his team at the Raj Bengal in Biggleswade. Picture: Hammad Khan

Hammad Khan and two of his team at the Raj Bengal in Biggleswade. Picture: Hammad Khan - Credit: Archant

A Biggleswade restaurateur has launched a campaign against his landlord over a plan to turn his takeaway into flats.

Baystrait Properties Ltd, of Tetworth near Sandy, have applied for permission to turn the Raj Bengal in Hitchin Street and the former undertaker’s shop next door into a pair of ground-floor two-bedroom flats as part of a revelopment of the building.

Hammad Khan, who has run the Raj Bengal for 12 years, is petitioning against the plan – and he says he is prepared to fight his corner before Central Beds Council’s development management committee.

He has set out objections to the plan including concerns over parking, perceived over-development and how the loss of his restaurant might undermine the rejuvenation of the street.

He told the Comet that if the planning application goes through, he will have to shut his doors by the end of January.

“The development will result in the forfeiture of a much-used local amenity and would cause a loss to the community that cannot be replaced,” he said.

“Better uses are available for the site without losing both the commercial properties.

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“The approval of this development would undermine all the progress that has been made over the last couple of years and give other commercial building owners the encouragement to convert commercial properties into residential flats, which would further undermine the progress to rejuvenate Hitchin Street.”

The planning statement prepared for Baystrait Properties by GC Planning Partnership Ltd describes the site in Hitchin Street as being a “highly sustainable location for housing development”, citing its proximity to the town centre, bus stops and the railway station.

It also points out that both properties were originally terraced houses, and that the plan therefore involved an appropriate reversion to residential use.

Mr Khan says there would be insufficient storage space for bins, but the planning statement says the existing rear yard would provide space for this purpose.

The application concludes that the proposal would “make a valuable contribution to the local housing stock”.

Central Bedfordshire Council is set to make a decision about the plan during November. To find out more or have your say, see and choose ‘planning’, looking for application reference 17/04479.