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Restaurant owner anguish in sign battle
AN ANDOVER restaurant owner has spoken of her anguish and stress over a long-running signs battle with the council.
Shahi Raj owner Rahela Khanom said she has been asked to remove the signs from the front of her business by Test Valley Borough Council and believes it will damage her business if she complies.
Mrs Khanom, who has been running the restaurant for over 20 years, has been embroiled in a six-year battle to keep her signage which the council says is in a conservation area.
She added, however, that she feels she is the only business being targeted in the small row of traders in Winchester Street.
“It’s causing me so much stress that I’m not sleeping well at night,” said Mrs Khanom.
“The landlord has threatened to get involved, and I may find myself locked out of the restaurant with nothing.
“The man from the council said the reason it wasn’t picked up sooner was due to an oversight on their part.
“I just don’t know what to do or where to turn.”
Community-minded Rahela said she will continue to fight but admits that she doesn’t know how much fight she has left in her.
Test Valley says it regrets that Mrs Khanom is unhappy with the situation.
A council spokesman said: “The council has been working with Mrs Khanom for some time to try to come to an agreement about the restaurant signage.
“Our concern is not with the size or colour of the sign, rather it is the material used and incorporated lighting which is not appropriate for display on a listed building in a conservation area.
“We are keen to reach a successful resolution which would mean that the restaurant could continue to display a sign that is in keeping with the area and historic nature of the building.
“An application for planning permission has now been received for a revised design.”
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