A CONTROVERSIAL move to turn a former Barrhead salon into a fast food shop has been backed by the Scottish Government, despite fierce opposition from the community.

Livid residents of Arthurlie Avenue – who have fought the plans for more than a decade – were left dumbfounded when tenant Sait Gunduz appealed against council-imposed restrictions on opening hours in July.

And they have now been dealt a hammer blow after a Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) inspection ruled in favour of the appeal.

It means the property will now be transformed into a hot food takeaway, open from 11am to 10pm seven days a week.

Mr Gunduz had made the objection in a bid to operate the takeaway business from 8am to 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays and from 8am to 10pm on Sundays.

He also hoped to avoid the need to create additional parking spaces at the back of the building.

The site has courted controversy ever since a planning application was submitted to East Renfrewshire Council in 2006.

The majority of resultant applications have been rejected, while an attempt to transform the premises, beside Jafar’s Newsagent, into a cafe was withdrawn in 2011.

Members of the public have regularly campaigned against the proposals, citing a range of reasons ranging from noise pollution, road safety issues and litter concerns.

However, Mr Gunduz has been backed by Elspeth Cook, a Scottish Executive reporter, who found conditions setting differing operating hours on weekdays and weekends to be “unreasonable”.

The reporter also founded no justification for the creation of a third parking space to the rear of the premises.

Writing in an appeal decision notice, Ms Cook said: “It is necessary to restrict the operating hours to reflect the mixed use area but unreasonable to set different operating hours on weekdays and weekends or to exclude Sundays.

“The council considers noise and disturbance are acceptable on Friday and Saturday up until 10pm. I do not find that the introduction of uniform opening hours would exacerbate any impacts already deemed acceptable.

“Condition 1 is therefore varied to allow the operation of the business from 11am to 10pm hours each day.”

She continued: “I do not find that the parking standards as presented to me justify a third space.

“The parking requirement is calculated by the council to be three spaces based on five spaces per-100-square metres of gross floorspace.

“However, under this method, a 47-square-metre building requires 2.35 spaces, which under normal mathematical rules would be rounded down to two spaces.

“It is therefore unreasonable to ask for a third space.”

Landlord Kartar Barhaya has welcomed the government’s decision and told the Barrhead News the opening of the shop will act as a boost for the area.

He said: “The Scottish Executive felt our argument was 100 per cent correct.

“All the grounds we fought on were according to law and the reporter also agreed that everything said was factually correct.

“I actually want to say thanks to the local community and to Alan Kirkwood, who has led the protests, for bringing it up because, without them, it wouldn’t have been successful.

“This is a positive story as local jobs will be created. Having the shop lying vacant was in nobody’s interests. This is a good thing for the community.”

However, Mr Kirkwood has hit back at claims the takeaway will have a positive impact on Arthurlie Avenue.

He said: “The truth of the matter is not one single person wrote in support of the plan.

“He (Mr Barhaya) is just being a bit stupid, he’s making no sense at all. He’s not ingratiating himself to the community.”