Restaurant In Peace

PUBLISHED: 11:40 12 May 2006 | UPDATED: 21:52 28 May 2010

Pauline Oliver with consultant Peter Humphrey

Pauline Oliver with consultant Peter Humphrey

PAULINE Oliver bought a large country house standing in four acres of garden, believing it would be perfect setting for a high class restaurant. But it seems the council which boasts that Fenland is open for business has other ideas. Mrs Oliver bought M

The exterior of the house

PAULINE Oliver bought a large country house standing in four acres of garden, believing it would be perfect setting for a high class restaurant.

But it seems the council which boasts that Fenland is open for business has other ideas.

Mrs Oliver bought Meadowfields in Outwell Road, Elm, last September. Together with her daughter Kerry, she has big plans for the imposing house which stands well back from the road.

They want to use the ground floor lounge and sitting room as the dining area for a small restaurant. The two women already run a farm shop from the house, selling home-grown produce along with rare cheeses and hams from a delicatessen.

But after applying to Fenland District Council for permission to change part of the residential accommodation into the restaurant, they have been shocked to learn their plans are likely to be turned down.

The recommendation has angered architectural consultant Peter Humphrey, who prepared a planning statement for Mrs Oliver after initial inquiries gave him the impression the restaurant would be a welcome addition to Fenland.

Now he has been told councillors are being recommended to refuse the application on the grounds of sustainability and possible highway problems.

Mr Humphrey said: "We didn't envisage there would be any problem but we have been advised the recommendation is for refusal.

"They should be encouraging things like this but they are being so negative. The council's logo is 'Open for business' but obviously it is not."

He says a quality restaurant would attract people to the area, provide jobs, help the local economy and complement existing businesses.

As for highway concerns, Mr Humphrey says there are adequate parking facilities and Mrs Oliver intends to widen the access on to Outwell Road.

Kerry, who had hoped to be cooking speciality dishes for discerning diners, said: "We could bring so many jobs into the area and provide the kind of food which people cannot get elsewhere.

"Customers who are already coming in for cheese are so disappointed when we tell them we may not be able to go ahead with the restaurant.

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