VIA| A cafe owner was ordered to remove an extractor fan because the smell of her frying bacon offended passing Muslims.
Planning officials acted against Beverley Akciecek, 49, after being told her next door neighbour’s Muslim friends had felt ”physically sick” due to the ”foul odour.”
The fan has been in Beverley’s Snack Shack takeaway in the Shaw Heath area of the town for the past three years.
And the mother-of-seven whose husband Cetin, 50, is himself a Turkish Muslim work more than fifty hours a week buying, preparing and cooking hot and cold sandwiches and hot-pots for their customers.
But neighbour Graham Webb-Lee complained that his Muslim friends refused to visit him becase they ”can’t stand the smell of bacon.”
And councillors at Liberal Democrat run Stockport Council in Greater Manchester ruled the ‘odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents.’
Mrs Akciecek who plans to appeal against the decision said, “I just think it’s just crazy. Cetin’s friends actually visit the shop, they’re regular visitors, they’re Muslim people, the come in a couple of times a week.
”I have Muslim people come in for cheese toasties. Cetin cooks the food himself, he cooks the bacon.
“When we go to a cafe my husband wouldn’t be offended by the smell of bacon. His friends are not offended by it, we have three visitors who come here for a sandwich, friends of my husband, and the smell doesn’t offend them at all.
”My brother-in-law doesn’t flinch if he comes and we’ve just taken out three trays of bacon.”
The couple took over the take-away on Adswood Road in Cale Green, Stockport, in 2007 from the previous owner and replaced the exisiting extractor fan, which had been there for six years, with a new modern one.
They claim they received no complaints about the cafe which is open from 7.30am-2.30pm six days a week, until around eighteen months ago when they received a letter from environmental services to say Mr Webb-Lee had complained about the smell.
“We’ve never had a problem about the smell because everything is pre-cooked,” said Mrs Akciecek.
“We cook it in the oven so there’s no foul smell. It’s pre-cooked so the smell isn’t as strong when we’re frying it off. It’s like living next to someone who’s cooking a Sunday breakfast but it’s not constant it’s just in the morning.
“It’s been a sandwich shop for about eight years, cooking exactly the same stuff. The lady before me did double because they were actually building new houses across the road so she was really busy. She was here from 6am-4pm because they were so busy.
“They were there before me but they were also there when the lady who owns the business was here and she was doing double what we are. She had five staff, you can imagine how bust that shop was and they never complained at all.”
They say that Environmental services had been out to inspect their property after their neighbour complained about a foul odour last year, but they ruled that the smell was not causing a problem.
“Environmental services said everything is ok. They kept coming back and guaging it and said there was no problem and because they didn’t take any action they complained again,” she added.
The couple had never applied for planning permission as they had simply replaced an existing extractor fan with one of the same size and in the same position, but, following further complaints from their neighbour, they were informed by the council they would have to apply retrospectively as an objection had been raised.
They applied for planning permission in May this year, but the application was refused at a meeting of Stockport Area Committee on October 14. Mr Webb-Lee objected to the aplication – complained that his Muslim friends refused to visit him becase they ”can’t stand the smell of bacon.”
Mr Webb-Lee said, “The vent is 12 inches from my front door. Every morning the smell of bacon comes through and makes me physically sick.
”I have a lot of Muslim friends. They refuse to visit me anymore because they can’t stand the smell of bacon.”
A spokesman for Stockport Council said, “‘The retrospective application was rejected on the grounds of residential amenity, as the committee felt the odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents.
“We will ensure that the cafe complies with this decision and removes the extractor fan.”