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Pizza chain will 'kill town street'

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

By Richard Wevill

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ONE of Tiverton's main shopping streets will be 'dead' during the day if a multi-national food chain is granted permission to open a takeaway, the owner of a rival business has warned.

Ahmad Babolhavaeji, who runs Pizza King takeaway and Tomato Tapas bar in Bampton Street, is objecting to plans by Domino's Pizza to open a shop on the ground floor of the development on the former hospital site.

Opponents of the proposal say the business could be busy at night, but during the day, the street would continue to be devoid of shoppers.

Mr Babolhavaeji told town councillors: "If you look from Market Walk up the street, most of the lights are off during the day as the street has changed and the businesses are mainly evening trade."

He said he had hoped the redevelopment of the former hospital site would have resulted in more retail outlets opening, which could have put much-needed life back into daytime trading in that part of the town.

He said: "When we heard development was happening on the old hospital site, we were all hoping there would be some nice clothing shops or something different that we don't already have in the town, but this takeaway will not bring people to this part of the town."

Mr Babolhavaeji said he was not just concerned about the likely impact on his own businesses of the expanding pizza chain moving to Tiverton.

"Pizza King has been in Bampton Street for 18 years, if this application is approved and after it opens, it doesn't work for us for a couple of weeks we will just change what we offer the customer – pizza King will adapt and survive," he said.

Mr Babolhavaeji said it appeared the Domino's outlet would be staying open until late at night, and said he feared if there was public disorder outside the premises, his business and the nearby Twyford Inn would be blamed.

Mr Babolhavaeji endured battles over local licensing rules when he previously attempted to create a courtyard area outside his premises for late-night drinkers.

Councillor Tony Hendy told Tiverton's planning committee he was "strongly opposed" to the plan.

He said: "The danger is we get one shop but lose two elsewhere in Bampton Street.

"We should say to Domino's 'you are welcome in Tiverton, but this is the wrong place to put a takeaway' and suggest they take one of the existing empty units."

Cllr Hendy, who has a Bampton Street letting business, said the town council should "stand shoulder to shoulder" with small businesses when faced by the spectre of large corporations. Competition was "healthy" but "not next door" to small businesses.

Councillors felt another town centre location and returning to use a vacant storefront would be more appropriate for Domino's.

Domino's says a shop will create more than 20 jobs and hopes to open this year.

The company's application will be debated Mid Devon District Council, which has the final say, at a later date.

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