PENSIONER power has blocked moves to open a takeaway in Northwich town centre.
The residents of Weaver Court in London Road turned out in force at last week's meeting of Vale Royal Borough Council's planning committee and slammed the proposals to open the fish and chip shop opposite their homes.
The planning committee threw out the application after hearing concerns from residents and Cheshire police that crime rates in the area could rocket if the plans to change the use of 3 London Road were approved.
A representative of Cheshire Constabulary told the committee: 'From June 2003 to June 2004 there were 54 incidents, many of which centre around the Quality Hotel, the Regal Cinema and public houses in the area.
'If the premises were to be used as a fish and chip shop it would be my view that this would be a further potential source of incidents.
'There are also considerable concerns in respect of parking, bearing in mind the location is in the middle of the current one-way system and there is an existing fish and chip shop only 300 yards away. I believe that the granting of this application could cause further crime and disorder in the area.'
Planners received 36 letters of objection, all but two of which were from Weaver Court residents. About 20 of the elderly residents turned up to show the council the strength of their concern.
Resident Miriam Holden spoke up at the committee meeting and said she was delighted at the result.
'We all worked very hard against these proposals and it was a combined effort,' she said.
'We all felt so strongly about it. We don't feel that a takeaway is a very suitable use at all for that building.
'It was the first time I have ever done anything like that so it was quite daunting - but everyone makes you feel very welcome. We are all pleased it has been refused.'
Residents said that they felt the proposals would cause traffic problems, customers might use their car park as there is no other parking available in
the area, the pavement was very narrow, residents would have to deal with smells and fumes from the business and litter could cause elderly people to slip.
They also feared late-night opening could encourage drunks to wander around the retirement flats, that there could be vandalism and anti-social behaviour and the devaluation of the Weaver Court homes.