Three glorious days of believing he’d won and then Gary gets the right letter of rejection

FOR three glorious days Gary Meads believed his dream of opening a fish and chip shop would come true- only to have his hopes dashed by the flick of a button.

Mr Meads thought his latest bid to convert a derelict former hair salon in Parson Drove would win over Fenland District Council Planning Committee after receiving a letter telling him planners would be recommending its approval to councillors.

Three days later came the bitter blow when he received an almost identical letter but this time telling him it would be recommended for refusal- and councillors later backed that recommendation.

“It was a simple administrative error,” said a council spokesman. “Standard letters are sent to applicants before their applications go to committee stating whether officers are recommending approval or refusal.

“In this case by mistake someone hit A rather than R. It was put right as soon as it was noticed but in fact the applicant already knew from previous discussions with officers that the recommendation was for refusal.”

Mr Meads addressed the committee meeting which refused his application reminding them the shop could be used for many things “ including a sex, a newsagent, an internet caf� and a sandwich bar. “

He said highways and noise objections could be dealt with and he would accept restrictions on opening times.

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“I want to give the residents of Parson Drove a facility they desperately want and need,” he said.

Mr Meads said he bought the shop some years ago and thought a fish and chip shop was needed locally and it had the support of most villagers.

However the committee felt that since the application had already been refused previously and on appeal, the inspector’s decision to uphold that refusal should stand.