Jobs saved as Hartlepool takeaway approved – despite claims it caused ‘havoc’ and may increase obesity

Pam Wright (right) with staff Jill Jefferson (left) and Vicky Emery from the Wright Bite, Rossmere way. Picture by FRANK REID

Pam Wright (right) with staff Jill Jefferson (left) and Vicky Emery from the Wright Bite, Rossmere way. Picture by FRANK REID

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A cafe boss says jobs have been saved after it was allowed to continue serving up takeaway meals.

The Wright Bite Cafe, on the outskirts of Rossmere Park, off Rossmere Way, was granted retrospective planning permission by Hartlepool Borough Council.

Proprietor Pamela Wright said she would have had to lay off staff if they had not won approval.

The council’s planning committee heard the cafe has grown since it opened in April last year and started providing a popular takeaway service, leading to it to apply to council bosses for a change of use.

Public health chiefs objected, fearing it could add to the ward’s obesity levels which are above the national average.

Some local residents also objected, saying the cafe had caused “havoc” since opening.

But members of the committee, including two ward councillors, supported the business, which employs nine staff.

Fens and Rossmere councillor Jim Lindridge said: “I think we should be encouraging small businesses at this particular time and promote employment of local people.”

The application attracted six letters of objection, 12 of support and a 1,245-signature petition in support.

Resident Peter Joyce, who spoke on behalf of the objectors, said: “This has just caused havoc in the community.”

He said parking around the cafe meant pedestrians had to walk in the road and made it unsafe for local school children.

George Lee, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the cafe was not a ‘traditional’ takeaway but prepares nutritional freshly cooked meals.

There were angry scenes from objectors when councillors granted permission including shouts of “absolute joke”.

Afterwards Mrs Wright said: “The girls are thrilled because they were frightened of losing their jobs. If we didn’t get the hot food we would have had to cut their hours down and it would not have made it worthwhile for us to open during the winter.

“We are over the moon.”