A CAFÉ in Renton will be forced to close after operating for almost two years following refusal of a retrospective planning application.

Duncan Wrethman bought the Village Café, at 129 Main Street on the ground floor of a traditional two and a half storey terraced building, in May 2018. The hot food site is one of four commercial premises in a row.

An application for planning permission was previously refused in November 2019 due to the absence of an adequate ventilation and extraction system to address odours associated with the facility.

Following the refusal of the application an Enforcement Notice was served to the applicant which was appealed to the Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals.

This revised application sought retrospective consent for the same use of the building but with an amended ventilation system.

Concerns were raised with the planning committee on Wednesday morning who heard from one upstairs resident who referred to her ordeal as a “pantomime”.

She said: “This is absurd. This application should have been refused quickly and swiftly. I am dealing with constant odours in my home caused by cooking in the café.

“I can smell that café in my home, and I will not be forced to leave.”

Concerns were raised that gas canisters, attached to the back of the property, were used for the cooking.

Mr Wrethmam the owner said: “This has been a commercial property since 1972. I have tried to solve the problem with the ventilation system and the smells should be gone.

“I am looking at getting rid of the gas cylinder and replacing it with a boiler, but the cylinders are not dangerous.

“I didn’t realise I needed planning permission as it was already a hot food place when I bought it.”

It was also pointed out that the last recorded use of the site was a beauty parlour which was granted planning permission in 1996.

When Mr Wrethmam bought the shop it was already used as a café under separate ownership although there is no planning record of this.

Chairman Jim Finn said: “I have got one problem. You have been operating this business as a café without planning permission and it has caused a lot of problems.

“Had you got planning permission you would have been advised on how to proceed. I don’t agree with retrospective applications. It puts pressure on us to grant it as you have spent a lot of money on the development.”

Following the discussion, the majority of councillors refused the application. It is understood the application will appeal this decision.

Lorraine Cameron, local campaigner and cafe user, said: "It’s disgusting that small business is not being supported. That there has been no meeting in the middle why would someone put ventilation system in, when they are not sure if planing would be granted? costing thousands. As local residents we will support the village cafe and continue with the petition. We understand the residents position but this removing a vital service from community. Also Would like to ask what support will be given to the Village Cafe as business if they have relocate. It will be big loss for our town.