Council stops restaurant being turned into hostel

Hostel for former Classics restaurant, Manea, refused

Former Classics restaurant in Station Road, Manea, refused permission to convert it into a hostel for seasonal agricultural workers. - Credit: Archant

More than 80 residents objected to a former Italian restaurant being turned into a hostel for seasonal workers that has been refused planning permission. 

Simon Howard of Howard Renovations Ltd of Buttercup Farm, Chatteris, says allowing up to 18 residents to live at the former Classics restaurant in Station Road, Manea, would house agricultural workers needed by Pretoria Energy.  

The energy company runs the expanding anaerobic digestion plant at Mepal and has another at Chittering.  

But Fenland Council concluded that the (part retrospective) planning application would be an overdevelopment “of this modest site”. 

Nick Harding, head of planning, told Mr Howard the council felt the number of residents, nature of the use, unacceptable waste collection arrangement and the burden on the local area for parking was unacceptable.  

It would result “in a poor-quality living environment” and create a “significant detrimental impact” on the area.  

Mr Howard had argued that occupation would be seasonal with “a maximum of 18 residents could between the peak periods of March – June and September – November each year.  

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“The building will be occupied at other times of the year but with a reduced number of occupants”. 

84 objections ranged from noise, police being called out multiple times to incidents, lack of parking, limited public transport, and an “unwelcome precedent”. 

Of 14 supporting comments, these ranged from support for local shops and takeaways, a “perfect layout of an HMO”, and claims that false accusations had been made about alleged incidents.  

Mr Howard said the restaurant was in a poor state before he took over and his company planned on “bringing it back to its former glory”.  

He added: “It will also provide farm workers with reasonable priced accommodation.  

“Being local to the area we know that ‘Classics’ has been a restaurant/ B&B for over 30 years. It has never had any issues from residents concerned about the parking or accommodation.”  

Fenland Council will now work with the applicants to remedy the planning issues at the former restaurant.