Villagers at ‘war’ with pizza van as customers ‘used front gardens as toilets’

A pizza van's bid to trade in Milford has been turned down amid concerns about traffic and resident complaints. The Vaporetto pizza van had previously traded in Cherry Tree Road in Milford but the situation there was described as "like a war" with residents. Waverley Borough Council's licensing committee heard from Vaporetto owner James Boyd that he did not want the previous "untenable" situation to have any bearing on the new proposed location.

The application was for the van to be parked in Portsmouth Road, Milford, between Tesco Express and the halal butcher on Thursdays from 3.30pm to 9pm and Saturdays from 12pm to 9pm. In June 2021, the van began to trade from Milford Heath Road after an application for a licence on the site at Cherry Tree Road, where the van was already trading, was not granted by the committee. Read more: University of Surrey fears security staff face more pressure as pizza takeaway granted late night licence

Four residents had submitted objections to Vaporetto Ltd's latest plans for Portsmouth Road, but the meeting on Monday (August 8) heard there had been issues with an online form to submit views. Ward Councillor Maxine Gale (Independent, Milford) said she had been contacted directly by some "very concerned residents" from around 20 homes who raised concerns about smoke and food smells from the truck, inconsiderate parking from customers and people "using front gardens as public conveniences". She also raised concerns about sight lines along the Portsmouth Road, and people queuing along the pavement blocking the pavement for buggies and mobility scooters.

Cllr Gale added: "This is a notoriously busy stretch of road, heavily congested with entrances to The Refectory, Meadow Close, Milford House, two bus stops and the entrance and exit to Tesco Express which is open until 11pm at night with a steady stream of customers. Passing vehicles already experience safety issues when trucks or vans are parked alongside Tesco Express instead of parking in the very busy car park." Mr Boyd said he thought it was "unfair and unjust" to assume that what had happened at Cherry Tree Road would automatically happen again at the proposed new location.

He said: "I don't want Cherry Tree Road, which was our previous location, to have any bearing on this location, because I believe that the situation there became untenable. "I don't want to have that cloud this picture. We'll be respectful in trading there, with the hours, the litter, the clearing up.

We don't make any noise, we don't open late, and we will park sensibly in that location." He said the business had thousands of local customers who would "no doubt" would be in favour of the van being in the Portsmouth Road location. Calling Cherry Tree Road a "highly disputed situation", Mr Boyd said many points raised in the meeting echoed "dare I say it, a war that continued for a year with residents".

He added: "That's obviously going to be very contentious for them, and some of the issues we had there I don't see us having in the new proposed location at Tesco." Meeting chair Councillor Jerome Davidson (Liberal Democrat, Hindhead) said the committee would not grant the licence primarily because of the "undue interference" to others using the street including vehicles using the Tesco car park, approaching the roundabout and concerns about the narrow pavement. He added: "We have a lot of sympathy for what you're trying to do, and we wish that you will find a successful site elsewhere which will be less of an interference to others."

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