‘Dogs’ licence approved

Wendy Hesketh
Wendy Hesketh
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A Bellshill mum has won a licence to run a hot dog stall beside historic St Andrew’s UF Church, but now faces planning and other hurdles.

Local woman Wendy Hesketh’s plan has drawn strong opposition from church officials and many in the congregation.

It has been claimed the church owns the paved area where she plans to do business, and that it was only given to the former district council on loan.

The council refurbished the high profile site as part of a £4 million Bellshill improvement plan, and it has been seen as a council reponsibility for many years.

But any future challenge to ownership could throw doubt on the validity of licence permission to operate there.

However although claiming ownership, the church is making no comment on how it may aim to proceed in future.

Session clerk Mary McGibbon said: “We have just had this decision confirmed, and have not had a chance to discuss it.”

When Ms Hesketh publicised her plan in summer parishioners were asked to sign pre-formatted letters of objection, but she responded in kind by gaining signatures for pre-formatted letters of support.

With opinion in Bellshill apparently split, the council’s licensing committee - faced with no objections from police or roads officials- voted to grant her a licence by 5 to 3.

Bellshill councillor Harry Curran said he was ‘astounded - incredulous’ at the decision, arguing it made no sense to allow a fast food outlet to operate outside a church.

He said: “There are already plenty of fast food outlets, so this is overprovision. There are other sites which could have been considered.”

Meanwhile although the roads department has no problem with Ms Hesketh’s plan she has been told she will need planning permission for her venture - which could cost a further £500.

She said: “I feel as if I am in limbo, with one permission granted and another - which doesn’t seem to have any point to it - apparently needed.

“However I have come this far and have a lot of support, so I must try to find a way of carrying on. So many people have supported me.”

Besides expense and delay a planning application would mean a new round of potential objections or letters of support.

If Ms Hesketh were refused she could appeal the decision - but that would mean further costs.