A PETITION calling on Inverclyde Council to give the go-ahead for a Turkish restaurant to open in Greenock has attracted over 1,000 signatures.

The move comes after the local authority refused a change-of-use application which sought to transform a former furniture store on Grey Place into a new eatery named ‘Efes’.

The building’s owners have already ploughed almost half a million pounds into the property and were left dismayed by the decision.

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Mehmet Karaduman, who has been working with his business partners on the new restaurant, told the Tele earlier this month that they intend to appeal the council’s decision, however the local authority’s online planning portal currently lists the application’s appeal status as ‘unknown’.

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The petition requesting that the council changes its verdict currently has 1,202 signatures and includes a short statement explaining the reason behind it.

It states: “Efes Restaurant promises not just delicious food but also a stunning setting that would enhance our local dining scene.

“It represents an opportunity for Inverclyde Council to support local businesses, promote culinary diversity and boost our economy.

“According to the Office for National Statistics, the food service industry contributes significantly towards job creation in the UK (ONS).

“By allowing Efes Restaurant to flourish here in Inverclyde, we are supporting employment opportunities within our community.

“In addition, having more quality dining options like Efes could attract visitors from outside Greenock and further stimulate local spending.

“This is crucial now more than ever as we strive towards economic recovery post-Covid-19.

“We urge Inverclyde Council to reconsider their decision on Efes Restaurant.

“Let's give them a well-deserved chance to serve us great food within an amazing ambience right here in Greenock.”

In their decision notice, council officials listed three reasons for refusal, which all related to the likelihood of a statutory odour nuisance being caused to residents by cooking at the premises.

Four public objections were received about the proposals, covering concerns about odours, a lack of parking and the impact of increased noise and footfall.

A number of the petition’s signatories have left comments in support of the original application.

One commenter said: “We need more diversity in our options to eat out.

“We have countless Indian and Chinese takeouts, and limited nice options to sit in. In fact, there is no Turkish cuisine at all.

“Given that there are already neighbouring food establishments within a few metres, the restaurant doesn’t appear to be in an area where residents will be adversely affected.”

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Another supporter added: “I think this restaurant would be a great addition to the town.

“I can't see how the reasons for rejecting it can be valid when there are various other food premises on the same street.”

Inverclyde Council has previously stated that it has engaged with the would-be restaurant’s proprietors and their agent at ‘every stage possible’ to provide appropriate support and guidance.

They added: “Whilst we want to encourage and support new business opportunities, planning applications are considered in accordance with the Local Development Plan, national planning policy and considers consultation with internal and external stakeholders to determine the decision.

“This has included, in this instance, consideration of potential odour nuisance to nearby residential buildings.

“The applicant retains the right to appeal the decision which has been made.”