A chip shop owner insists he will be forced to shut up shop after plans to open another takeaway next door to him was given the go ahead.
Parminder Singh said he has spent around £30,000 to fit out his takeaway, Ayr Fryers, in Smith Street, Ayr.
However, he believes that he will have to close after councillors approved an application from another popular takeaway to relocate from their Burns Statue Square to a former betting shop right beside Mr Singh.
And it is has emerged he has been subjected to threats since he objected to the plans at the former Ladbrokes betting ship.
He said that he was going to report an email he received just after the planning application was approved which threatened him with violence.
He said: “I am scared for my safety and the safety of my family and my staff. All because I opened my mouth and said what I feel. It is very unfair .
“My wife is too scared to come in here in case something happens. But it won’t stop me voicing my opinions.”
Mr Singh showed us an email threatening him and calling him out to fight. The message was sent using an anonymous email generator but does reference the planning objection – being signed off by ‘The Cheeseman’.
And Mr Singh says he is going to report the threat to the police.
He added: “I know there are people commenting on this on the internet. That is fine, but when they start sending emails to my business address threatening to fight, that is not on.”
Mr Singh was unhappy with councillors, claiming that some were unfairly dismissive of his concerns.
He also said that they didn’t appear to pay any attention to the objections from nearby residents of a retirement home.
One councillor had told him that he should have confidence in his business and should concentrate on making a quality product in order to compete.
But Mr Singh said: “If I had been here for a year and had a chance to build up my clientèle it would have been fine, I understand competition.
“But to be here for a matter of weeks and then find out that an established business is going to move in next door. It is only natural that more people will go to the one they know.
Mr Singh also said that he had only found out that the regulatory panel was meeting to decide the application a few days before.
“I’ve only been here six weeks and I am trying to build a business.
“There were 14 or 15 objections, but the council doesn’t write you a letter saying this is going to the panel. I had to find out on the website.
“What about the other objections from the residents? They may have turned up to make their case.
“Had I been established for a couple of years, I would have said, ‘okay, I have my clientele’. But I’ve spent the best of £30k on a business.
“Now within a month or two someone is going to be sitting next to me and I’m going to have nothing left.
“It is fine for a councillors to say ‘ok fight it’ but you can only do that when you have your own clientèle established in the first place.
“When you are just starting off it is very difficult.
“The situation in Smith Street is crazy. There is always double parking. It is crazy putting another takeaway in, especially selling the same cuisine.
“And they are already well established.
“I am just trying to protect my business. It is the process that is the issue not those who are moving in.
“The chip shop that is moving in is a very good chip shop and is well established.
“One of the councillors mentioned that it would mean filling an empty unit. But it also means there is going to be another empty unit on Burns Statue Square.
“And if it has the impact I believe it will have on me, this will also be an empty unit.
“I have been in businesses for 32 years and understand that trade concerns aren’t taken on board as much as residential concerns.
“One thing I know from other councils I have dealt with is that, where there are a number of residents’ objections, whether it is town centre or not, it doesn’t get passed.
“They had about 15 residents objecting and the councillors never even acknowledged their concerns. Why?
“They were also given the option of refusing on the grounds of oversaturation of takeaways in the area.
“Why have these panel meetings is it a foregone conclusion?”
Mr Singh said he would be looking at his next step as he vowed to continue his fight.
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