CONCERNS have been raised over plans to extend a convenience store to include a hot food takeaway and two flats on the site.

The owners of Nisa Loco, on Lochbridge Road, North Berwick, have applied to East Lothian Council for the development.

If approved, a hot food takeaway would be built to the south side of the existing convenience store and two flats built above.

Both flats would have three bedrooms and boast first-floor outdoor terraces, one facing east and one facing west.

Manz Ahmed, the store manager and one of the owners, told the Courier: “We are in constant talks with people, reassuring them with what we are trying to do.

“We are doing this to make our business and the community better.

“We’ve followed advice from the council and feedback we have been given.

“This is a half million-pound refurbishment which we are paying from our own pockets. People have been asking us to do something with the shop for years.”

However, residents on Lochbridge Road received letters from an unnamed individual or individuals opposing the changes and which urged them to formally object to East Lothian Council.

The letter, which includes images of the proposals, stated: “We are concerned at the planning application for a hot food takeaway at the Nisa Loco shop.

“This will cause further traffic problems, from increased customer traffic and parking, increase HGV deliveries, dangerous illegal parking, people hanging out and litter. This is a residential area not a high street.

“Lochbridge Road is already a busy thoroughfare road, which struggles with noise from early and late-night HGV deliveries, often parked in Lochbridge Road blocking the road and dangerous illegal parking of customers on the corner.”

The deadline for objections has now passed but the letter, delivered last month, urged residents to oppose the plans on the following grounds:

l Dangerous/illegal parking on the corner of Lochbridge Road and Dundas Road;

l Smell of takeaway;

l Increased traffic;

l People queueing up and hanging out outside hot food takeaway;

l Increased litter and;

l Risk of vermin (including ‘noisy’ seagulls).

A recent meeting of North Berwick Community Council heard that some neighbours were “up in arms” at the proposals, with those living closest to the shop concerned about privacy as the flats’ terraces might overlook their gardens.

Issues relating to additional traffic, perceived lack of parking, noise from deliveries and illegal parking from customers on the street were also highlighted.

However, community councillors discussed how the new shop, which member Bill Macnair described as an “exciting project that will enhance the area”, could take traffic away from the High Street and encourage more business development in the area.

According to some community councillors, if the shop becomes successful it “might attract people from all over North Berwick”.

Mr Ahmed says he tells his customers not to park illegally and to use the parking spaces provided.

He will be purchasing more bins to compensate for the increase in litter with his staff already cleaning up after people on a regular basis.

If approved, the type of hot food served at the takeaway has not yet been decided as Mr Ahmed will likely rent out the business.

The owners of the Lochbridge convenience store also own the Nisa on North Berwick High Street which has had a planning application of its own submitted to East Lothian Council to change the shop’s interior and exterior.

If the Lochbridge Road application is successful, work on Nisa Loco would begin once the High Street store is refurbished, possibly starting at the end of next year or beginning of the year after.