Fenland Council bans roller shutters at supermarket and post office - one week after ram-raiders hit nearby off licence
PUBLISHED: 12:13 27 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:10 27 October 2017
A Fenland supermarket and post office has been told it cannot install security shutter rollers - days after another shop in the town was hit by ram-raiders.
Keshco, on Broad Street, Whittlesey, was told by Fenland Council that it couldn’t install the shutters as they “do not preserve nor enhance the character and setting” of the area.
The decision came after ram-raiders smashed into the front of the Drink Shack off licence on Whitmore Street in the early hours of October 18.
Keshco told the council that the shop had experienced three broken shop front glass smashes in the last 18 months and one of their other stores has suffered from a ram raid “and there is no police station in Whittlesey anymore.
“The store is also a main post office and holds a significant amount of cash.
“Currently the store only has a security shutter to the main entrance door and to ensure complete security it is proposed to provide soffit mounted concealable shutters”.
A planning officer who inspected Keshco’s plans recommended their rejection despite support from Whittlesey Town Council.
Conservation watchdog the Whittlesea Society also supported Kescho saying the shutters would be “understandable as glass panes have been broken on at least two separate occasions that we know of”.
Nick Harding, Fenland’s head of planning, accepted his case officer’s report which said the shutters do not look to the historic nature of the build and look to introduce a wholly obtrusive form of modern development.
The officer’s report also said the shutters would have an “urbanising effect” and detract from the overall character of the area.
Plans to extend the rear of the store for added storage and kitchen area and to install a new roof light were also turned down.
Drink Shack owner Sanj Aujla said he too had tried in the past to ramp up the security at his shop but says the council forced him to take down metal shutters four years ago.
“If the council had let me keep the shutters then we wouldn’t be having this conversation now,” he said.
“I sent an application to the council for a re-enforced aluminium shop front and if they turn it down it will be ridiculous considering the damage last week did to the shop.”