PLANS to open an upmarket fish and chip shop in North Berwick have been rejected – amid fears customers would park irresponsibly.

Award-winning East Lothian business Alandas wants to open a new seafood eaterie in the centre of the town, on the same street where it already has an ice-cream parlour.

However planning officials at East Lothian Council rejected the planning application, citing concerns that customers would park on double yellow lines outside the new business.

And the council’s Local Review Body has today (Thursday) upheld their officers’ decision after the business took their case to them on appeal.

Members of the review body unanimously rejected the appeal after they were told that council policies for town centres required them to consider the impact of a new business on traffic management.

Despite backing council officers, Councillor Fiona O’Donnell said she found the decision difficult.

She said: “I do not think businesses are responsible for parking behaviour – I think drivers make the choice to park badly.”

Alandas wanted to open the seafood takeaway at 43 Quality Street, an empty office building owned by the council.

Representatives from the firm told the review body that negotiations to lease the building from the council were already under way.

They even presented the review body with a sample menu of the types of food they planned to serve, from grilled seafood to lobster rolls.

East Lothian Council’s planners said that they believed “the proposed hot food takeaway use would be likely to lead to irresponsible parking and waiting outside the premises, including on double yellow lines, on the footway or double parking”.

However, agents for Alandas argued that there was plenty of on-street parking nearby, adding that while they were confident the business would be successful, they did not anticipate people travelling to the town just to visit it.

Backing the view of officers, Councillor Sue Kempson said: “Although the takeaway business would not cause bad driver behaviour, it is a consequence of takeaways that cause bad driver behaviour.

“I am not inclined to support it.”

The view was backed by fellow review body members Councillors John Williamson and John McMillan.