Curry on regardless

PUBLISHED: 12:12 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

The site of the former New Inn pub with the A1 running to the right

The site of the former New Inn pub with the A1 running to the right

A ROW is hotting up over the future of a former pub. A month ago The Comet reported how residents in St Neots Road, Sandy, had united to object to plans for the former New Inn to be turned into an Indian restaurant. They said the proposed curry house woul

A ROW is hotting up over the future of a former pub.

A month ago The Comet reported how residents in St Neots Road, Sandy, had united to object to plans for the former New Inn to be turned into an Indian restaurant.

They said the proposed curry house would pose serious parking and safety problems.

The road is directly linked to the A1 and traffic coming off the southbound lane turns into the road much faster than the 30mph speed limit, say residents.

Sandy Town Council's open spaces committee unanimously opposed a planning application for the restaurant after facing a protest from residents.

Now Mid Beds District Council has warned the pub owners that future building work would be inadvisable as they still don't have planning permission.

But the builders have still not downed tools and, say residents, work has continued on the old pub.

Work started on the former New Inn before the planning application was originally submitted, say residents, and has never stopped despite the town council objecting to the plans.

New windows have been installed and internal work has been undertaken on the building which is on a notorious black spot for accidents, which over the years have seen a young boy killed, two people knocked down and a number of collisions.

"Residents are still determined not to allow this restaurant to open," said Richard O'Neill who has lived next door to the pub for 38 years.

"If Mid Beds District Council passes this planning application it will certainly not be the last they will hear from us. But what we would like to see is the council taking action and stopping the building at the old pub.

"We will appeal if the decision goes against us on the grounds of public safety because the car park at the old pub will not be able to cope with the customers. The car park is on a bad bend and will cause extra hazards in the road.

"It is bad enough here anyway with traffic racing off the A1 and using the street as a rat run through the town. Mid Beds Council will only make matters worse if they give planning permission for the restaurant.

"Work goes on at the old pub as if they have been given permission already. But we expect the council to make the decision very soon and if they ignore the recommendation from the town council then we will be very angry."

To highlight the danger of the street, Mr O'Neill said a lorry recently lost its cargo of portable toilets after passing the old pub, with some hitting a parked car and others going into a garden hedge only a few feet from a house.

Two other residents agreed with Mr O'Neill but asked to remain anonymous.

One said: "The builders are there every day working on the property as if they will be opening soon. We don't want the restaurant here."

Another said: "We thought we had won the first round of the war against this restaurant. It seems they are just laughing at the local authority and doing what they like."

Trevor Steven, clerk to Sandy Town Council, said: "Even though we have objected to the planning application we have no powers to stop the building work."

A spokesman for MBDC said: "Mid Beds enforcement officers have visited the site again this week and have informed the applicant that it would be inadvisable to proceed much further with alterations before the application is determined.

"We will await the result of the application and if it is refused we will have to consider whether any action is required to request the works be reversed."

Mid Beds District Council has not set a firm date when the planning application will be heard.

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