With Wilko’s destined for the scrapyard, now might be a good time to seek out alternative shopping experiences. And if you’re in the Stockton area, there’s a planning application for a shop you’re unlikely to see on this side of the Atlantic.
A gun shop.
The planning application by Mr Sardar Gurmeet Singh Takhar of Ingleby Barwick proposes to convert part of his home into a mixed-use property in order to supply firearms. Customers would arrive one at a time and by appointment only.
His large modern home is stunning, with a pillared entrance and backing onto open fields. The suburb is quiet as the grave and couldn’t be further from a busy shopping centre.
The planning application reassures that there’s plenty of parking space. So no customer is expected to get the bus with a rifle in a carrier bag.
What could possibly go wrong?
Cleveland Police have lodged an objection. Who knew that a modern executive home was inappropriate for housing a well-advertised arms cache?
In his objection letter the designing out crime officer (C8614) Ged McBride wrote:
“I recommend the Council reject the change of use application, because it’s proposed that the business will operate from a residential property on a housing estate, which I consider inappropriate, for the type of business being considered. There is a road traffic safety element to consider too, with people unfamiliar with the location, creating additional traffic. I also fear that the nature of the business, may attract criminality to it, and therefore may represent an increased danger to the public.”
The 29 neighbourhood objections are summarised in one comment: “A gun shop, in a residential street – who on earth thinks this is even slightly acceptable?”
There are however 25 comments supporting the proposal, among them:
“This will be a amazing idea as there is already a firearms business in the area at … as all these objections is not right as the other company got to open one without a objection it will be amazing for the community as it’s a different business compared to other ones and great for hun enthusiasts”
Attila the Hun would no doubt approve.
And who knew there was already another business selling guns (legally) from another dapper home on a nearby housing estate? We redacted its address for obvious reasons.
It’s unlikely Stockton Council’s Planning Committee will go against the police advice.