Popular Farnsfield pizzeria The Rustic Crust allowed to offer takeaway service for further year

The Rustic Crust on Main Street, Farnsfield
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A popular Farnsfield pizzeria will be allowed to continue offering takeaway for a further year to test how the service affects traffic in the village.

The Rustic Crust, on Main Street, applied to Newark and Sherwood District Council to remove a condition on its planning permission that restricted the use of takeaway service.

When the pizzeria was first approved, concerns were raised over potential parking and traffic issues that could arise from the business permanently offering a takeaway service.

The restaurant is located on a tight road in the centre of the village, close to homes and other shops.

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

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

Customers were then given a timeslot to collect their food from the Main Street site, with spread-out timeslots ensuring “the restaurant doesn’t become overcrowded” and reducing the risk of congestion.

But the business, which opened its doors for the first time 10 days before the first Covid lockdown in March 2020, will see the Government guidance come to an end in March 2022.

It caused the pizzeria to apply to the council to remove the no-takeaway condition from its planning permission, allowing it to continue using the existing system moving forward.

Members of the planning committee reviewed the application on Tuesday (January 18) and allowed the pizzeria to continue with the service.

However, councillors only allowed this to be done temporarily so the changes can be monitored against the potential impact on traffic in the village.

Throughout the pandemic, the business limited collection times to between 4.30pm and 8.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday, with the pizzeria taking on average 10 orders a night.

It will be allowed to continue doing this for 12 months from March this year, provided it accepts the committee’s decision, with the conditions then likely to be reviewed again.

Councillor Linda Dales (Con), vice-chairman of the committee, proposed the temporary extension rather than allowing the condition to be removed altogether.

She said: “I appreciate we’ve just come through Covid and the circumstances allowed the temporary takeaway conditions, but it means we don’t really know what this would look like under normal circumstances.

“I just wonder whether we have any capacity to ask for a temporary extension, during which time we can perhaps monitor how this goes.

“I appreciate there haven’t been any reported parking incidents during the lockdown period, but equally there hasn’t been the same traffic flow and people aren’t going out to the same extent.”

Members of the committee agreed with the 12-month extension but many stressed the need to support a “good, local business”.

Cllr Rhona Holloway (Con), who represents Bilsthorpe, said: “I would feel very comfortable if we did it for a year.

“It is a good business and I would like to see it flourish, but I do know how difficult the traffic situation is in Farnsfield.”

Cllr Tom Smith (Con), who represents Rainworth, added: “This is a good, local business on a high street in a village, and I think this is a good opportunity for us to support an independent business.”

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

The business states collection will continue to use the pre-booking system.

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