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Rustic Crust pizzeria in Farnsfield applies for permanent takeaway service when covid rules end

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A popular pizzeria has requested permission to permanently offer a takeaway service alongside its dine-in option once covid rules come to an end in March.

The Rustic Crust, on Main Street, Farnsfield, opened its doors to customers for the first time just ten days before the initial lockdown in March 2020.

Initial planning permission for the business approved the site’s conversion into a restaurant, café and bar, but prevented the pizzeria from offering takeaway service to its customers.

Concerns were raised over potential parking and traffic issues that could arise from the business permanently offering a takeaway service, with the restaurant located in a tight residential part of the village.

However, with various lockdowns preventing customers from dining in at the business, Government guidance allowed the pizzeria to operate takeaway service “in order to sustain local businesses and the economy”.

During this time, The Rustic Crust had an app developed to allow customers to view the full menu online, order their food and pay securely by card.

Customers were given a timeslot to collect their food, with spread-out timeslots ensuring the restaurant doesn’t become overcrowded and no traffic congestion is caused in the village.

Documents state pandemic collection times were limited to between 4.30pm and 8.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday, with the business taking an average of ten orders a night.

Rules allowing this to take place are active until March 2022, temporarily overriding any planning restrictions imposed on the business.

Now the pizzeria is looking to make this change permanent and has applied to Newark and Sherwood District Council to remove the no-takeaway condition from its planning permission.

Documents state there is local demand from customers for the continued takeaway option, with the business expecting this form of sales to make up less than 10% of its monthly sales moving forward.

At present, the restaurant is currently only open between Wednesday and Saturday but, due to peak restaurant trading taking place on Fridays and Saturdays, takeaways are mainly used on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Continuing to offer takeaway beyond March 2022, the pizzeria’s application states, will allow it to continue to trade and operate on quieter days.

And the business states collection would continue to use the pre-booking system.

Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee will debate whether to remove the no-takeaway condition when it meets next week.

However, the report reveals concerns have been raised by Farnsfield Parish Council over traffic and parking, with fears takeaway service could “adversely impact on the availability of car parking for residents in the village”.

Concerns were also raised about inconsiderate parking and the risk of additional traffic coming into the village.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s highways department has also raised similar concerns, alongside one similar objection from a resident.

But the pizzeria’s application states customers will be encouraged to park in local public car parks “to minimise on-street parking and disturbance”.

The application also received two letters of support from residents, with the business described as a “very good family dining service for the village”.

And Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning department believes the application “would not unduly impact the amenity of local residents, nor comprise the safety of the highway network”.

Councillors have been recommended to approve the request at next week’s meeting.

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