AN artisan pizza van has been granted permission to open up on the former Frenchay Hospital site – despite residents’ objections.
The One Pizza, run by friends Esra Koroglu Ward and Ayse Ozer, will serve customers only on Thursdays initially, after South Gloucestershire councillors agreed to issue a street trading licence.
Seven neighbours and Winterbourne Parish Council objected amid concerns about noise, smells, litter, parking and the fact it would be near a primary school and open at 3pm to “coincide with the afternoon school run”, so could encourage children to eat “fast food”.
But licensing sub-committee members approved the application after hearing the two female owners made healthy, hand-stretched, Italian pizzas from scratch cooked in a wood-fired oven using no oil and that they would clear up all rubbish.
Esra, a librarian, told the hearing at Kingswood Civic Centre that the owner of Frenchay Park House had allowed them to use private land near the Grade II-listed building on the edge of the Frenchay Common conservation area, and that the van would not be left in the location overnight.
She said: “There were some concerns about healthy eating and it being fast food.
“We do understand the concerns but we are doing artisan pizza.
“We make the dough ourselves and we have all our ingredients bought from a genuine Italian supplier in Yate.
“We always buy our wood from a certified supplier, so when we light up the oven there is hardly any smoke or smell because it is purely dry and we don’t use any other fuel like petrol to light it up.
“We don’t use any frozen products, everything is fresh.”
Esra said they had a five-star food hygiene rating for their van, which they have taken to numerous food festivals and other community events.
She said their waste contractor would collect the rubbish and that the pair would pick up any other litter in the area when they closed, even if it was not theirs.
“We are conscientious people and look after our environment,” she said.
“Frenchay is a beautiful place and we would love to keep it that way because if we get a trading licence, we will become part of the community, so we would look after where we are trading.
“Our van is not going to be an eyesore, I can promise you that.”
Esra said antisocial behaviour would not be tolerated and that they had applied to shut at 9pm so they did not attract customers on their way home from the pub.
She said the 3pm start was not timed for the school run but would be their food preparation time instead of serving time.
Esra said parking was not a problem because there were nine available spaces and that each pizza took just three minutes to cook, so there would be a quick turnover of people.
The panel was given testimonials of support at the hearing on May 26, from organisations and people including the mayor of Wootton-under-Edge and Wickwar Social Club, who had booked them for various events and said the owners were “polite, enthusiastic and passionate” and always left the area “spotlessly clean and tidy”.
Members granted the application to sell pizzas and cold drinks from Wednesday to Saturday from 3pm to 9pm, although Esra and Ayse have other jobs and intend to use just one of those days.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service