Enforcement action commences over controversial flue at Stirling fast food outlet

By Alastair McNeill

The removal of an ‘unacceptable and unauthorised’ flue at a city fast food premises is being sought by officials.

It follows complaints from residents above the Cream Curls ground floor shop in Cowane Street earlier this year over noise and smells from the premises.

The franchise – which opened a year ago and sells burgers and hot dogs as well as ‘stir fry’ ice cream – had been told that hot food could not be cooked at the premises until details of a ventilation system had been approved.

But one year on no details have been submitted and officials are now seeking enforcement action over ‘non-compliance with grant of conditional planning’.

This summer residents in the tenement block, where there are eight flats altogether, accused the outlet of breaching planning conditions by cooking hot food on the premises.

Cameron McKay and partner Felicia Szloboda told the Observer that they could not open their windows during the franchise’s hours of business – between 11.30am and 11pm - because of the smell and noise nuisance.

The flue installed without consent beside the flat of Stirling couple Cameron McKay and Felicia Szloboda (Stirling Observer)

Last year planners had granted a change of use application from class one (shops) to class three (food and drink) at 49 Cowane Street, but a condition had been attached requiring that details of a suitable ventilation system had to be submitted – as well as securing the authority’s satisfaction over its installation – adding: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, no hot food shall be cooked on [the] premises until an acceptable ventilation system has been agreed in writing and installed.’

But Mr McKay said in July: “There is a smell of grease and fat. There are also issues over noise - not just the sound from the flue, but also from speakers they have installed on the shop’s ceiling. Since Cream Curls opened our quality of life has been affected. It has been very frustrating for us and for other residents in the block.”

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A Stirling Council planning schedule, dated September 8, states: ‘Condition one of this permission required the submission of details of a suitable ventilation system for approval prior to the business cooking hot food on the premises, however no such details have been received.

‘In addition to this, an unacceptable ventilation system has been installed to the rear of the premises.

‘Planning and environmental health officers have actively sought the submission of the relevant details for an acceptable flue, which have not been forthcoming and we are also seeking the removal of the unauthorised/unacceptable flue.

‘Whilst it is preferential to resolve enforcement matters through a negotiated solution, this has not been possible and as such members are requested to authorise the pursuance of formal action by service of the relevant Notices.’

The unauthorised flue, Cream Curls, 49 Cowane Street, Stirling (Stirling Observer)

Cream Curls franchisee Tayub Shakoor did not wish to make any comment on the matter this week.

He had told the Observer in July following the complaints: “We have not been cooking hot food for the last few weeks, but we hope to get matters sorted out with the council and start again soon.

“My business is already running at a loss. It’s important for my livelihood and for those I employ that [hot food] continues.”

Neighbour Mr McKay said this week: “I’m glad that action is being taken, but it could have been avoided had Cream Curls adhered to the rules in the first place.”


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