East Ham chippy to close after council approve flat conversion plan

Ali Onay, right, and his father Veli are at risk of losing their family business, Paul's Fish Bar,

Ali Onay, right, and his father Veli are at risk of losing their family business, Paul's Fish Bar, of Vicarage Road - Credit: Archant

Hopes of saving a popular East Ham fish and chip shop have been fried after planning permission was granted to convert it into a two-bedroom flat.

More than 400 people signed a petition to save Paul’s Fish Bar in Vicarage Lane, which has been run by Veli Onay for the past 27 years. He had hoped to pass it on to his son, Ali, but his landlord applied for permission to turn it into a residential property.

Despite residents being clear that they wanted their favourite chippy to remain, councillors narrowly voted in favour of its development on Monday night by five votes to four.

East Ham South councillor Quintin Peppiatt, who spoke against the proposal during the meeting in East Ham town hall, criticised the council’s decision.

“It is an utter disgrace,” he said. “The committee are destroying local shops in the local parade.

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“We are losing a much loved shop which has been in the area for 80 years in various forms.”

Ali, who admitted that his father had been struggling to sleep in the run up to the meeting which would decide his takeaway’s fate, said he was “distraught”.

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“We have had customers asking every day what we are going to do and what is happening and we have told them that we await this decision,” he said.

“There will be thousands of people in Vicarage Lane who are not going to be happy. I don’t know what we are going to do now.”

During the meeting, councillors were told that the takeaway could become a residential property even without their permission as permitted development rights allow the chippy to be converted into a shop and then a flat.

Planning officers said eight of the 11 shops on the takeaway’s side of the parade have been converted into flats, so the recommendation would be in keeping with the area.

They also noted that there is a shortage of housing but Councillor Susan Masters, who voted against the proposal, suggested that larger family homes are what the borough really needs.

Paul’s Fish Bar is expected to close its doors for the final time at the end of January.

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