The Scottish Government has overturned a decision by councillors to refuse plans for a new Chinese takeaway in the centre of Inverness.
Highland Council’s south planning applications committee voted in December to reject proposals for the takeaway on Tomnahurich Street on the grounds of road safety and lack of car parking under the authority’s development plan.
But an appeal, lodged by a Catherine Brown, argued that this reason for refusal applied more to rural as opposed to town or city centre locations.
The existing ground floor unit is currently occupied by the Telly on the Blink store and owner Robin MacDonald-Johnston wants to sell the premises and relocate his TV repair business to his home.
Yesterday he said: “I am relieved it (the appeal) has come through and I am looking forward to moving on.”
Scottish Government reporter Stephen Hall has now granted permission for the proposed takeaway, which the applicant had indicated would now open from 5pm until 11pm and not lunchtime as previously stated.
Mr Hall has imposed several conditions, including that the premises should not open to the public outside of these evening hours, and to ensure sufficient on-street parking is available for customers once the nearby permit holder time limits end at 5pm and 6pm.
Mr Hall also stressed that no delivery service shall operate from the premises without specific written prior agreement from the planning authority, to ensure the traffic and parking implications of the proposal can first be properly assessed.
And he also imposed a condition that a suitable kitchen extract system will be effectively operated and maintained to reduce the effect of cooking odours on neighbours.
In his report, Mr Hall stressed that the site is in a “semi-commercial” area and cited other nearby premises including a bakery, convenience store and cafes which are frequently visited by the public.
The report said: “The proposed takeaway will confirm to this established character, and replace an existing commercial use that will itself have given rise to a level of traffic.
“Due to its evening opening hours, the proposed takeaway would be likely to mainly generate trips at a different time of day from other commercial premises on the street, and this would limit the impact on overall congestion levels.”
In relation to concerns expressed previously about the safety of children from Inverness High School crossing Tomnahurich Street to visit the takeaway at lunch, Mr Hall stressed that, given the proposed opening hours have now changed, these concerns no longer arise.