Duncan Wrethman pictured leaving his cafe in Main Street, Renton.
By Democrat reporter
Duncan Wrethman, who runs the Village Cafe in Main Street, has won permission to continue operating his business – six months after a decision by councillors left him facing the threat of closure.
Mr Wrethman applied for a retrospective change of use from an original beauty salon back in May 2018, but neighbours complained about cooking smells coming from the premises.
Councillors rejected the application in February, but a Scottish Government reporter (the designation given to an official who oversees planning appeals) has now overturned the council’s decision.
Mr Wrethman is reported to be “delighted” with the decision after the planning committee’s rejection – which was contrary to the advice from West Dunbartonshire Council officials.
“This has been a long and drawn out battle which impacted my health and business. I hope nobody else has to go through what I have been through over the last one and a half years with constant spiteful complaints.
“I would like to thank [planning consultant] Mike Hyde and [architect] Paul Clarke for their professional guidance and support with planning and also thank you to Lorraine Cameron who started a petition in support.
“I have had amazing support from the local people in Renton and beyond.”
Upstairs neighbours have consistently opposed the use due to the smell of food from the site, stating that the “nuisance continues on a daily basis, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year”.
The planning committee refused an application in September 2019 because of “inadequate ventilation” and the council brought an enforcement notice.
New ventilation plans were submitted and the planning application went before councillors again in February.
The government reporter last week concluded: “After considering the content of the ventilation strategy, and the conditions suggested by the council’s environmental health service to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the equipment, I am satisfied that the measures proposed would protect the amenity of the neighbouring residential properties.”