PLANS to transform a vacant town centre barbershop into a kebab shop have been rejected over public health concerns.

An application had been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council to change the use of the former barbers at 108 Witton Street into a fast food takeaway. 

But while the proposal would have seen an empty unit brought back into use, objections were raised by the council's enviromental protection team and Public Health.

The concerns included the number of fast food takeaways already in the town centre, the detrimental impact the new kebab shop could have on noise and odour and the unhealthy nature of the business.

In a report recommending the plans be refused, a council officer said: "This application does not support the ambition and priorities set out within the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight.

"Long term impacts of eating food high in fat, sugar and salt are of concern to public health. There is a correlation between diet and health, and the contribution played by fast food must be taken into account.

"This clearly has potential to cause signficant noise issues yet only very limited acoustic information has been submitted, and no assessment of the potential impacts during proposed operating hours has been submitted.

"The proposal gives rise to concerns in respect of both odour and noise, and its impact upon amenity and would therefore not be supported.

"The proposed development is contrary to the development Plan. The use does not support the vitality or viability of the town centre, the proposal does not promote public health and will have negative on residential amenity."

Had the plans been approved, the takeaway would have operated between 11am and 11pm between Sunday and Thursday and between 11am and 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

In a design and access statement, prepared by ABL Planning & Development on behalf of the applicants, said: “The former barbers shop has been vacant for a number of years as confirmed by Coulby Conduct, a local estate agents.

"The proposed change of use to a fast food takeaway is therefore acceptable in this location.

“An odour extraction unit is proposed to be installed on the rear of the building and owing to the siting and design of the unit, the installation is not considered to harm the setting of the non-designated heritage asset and will preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area.

“The proposed use is not considered to harm the amenities of any residents who may be in the immediate locality through unacceptable levels of noise or odour.”

For more details on the application, search reference 21/01999/FUL on the council's online planning portal.