PENARTH councillors have branded a newly-opened pizza outlet an “eyesore” and refused its application for retrospective planning permission.

The owner of ‘Pizza Pronto’, which is based on Stanwell Road near Penarth Railway Station and promises to sell 'real Italian street food', has defended its appearance and vowed to carry on its fight for planning permission.

He said that art always divided people’s opinions and appealed for the council to support a small local business that was trying to improve the community.

During a planning and transportation committee meeting Penarth councillors rejected the application for alterations to the buildings’ façade and said that if they showed their support to how it looked now they would be “doing a dis-service to the town”

The matter will now go to the Vale Council planning department for the ultimate decision.

In the meeting on Wednesday, July 2, councillors branded the small business an “eyesore”, “hideous” and a blight on the town centre in a prominent position.

Councillor Gwyn Roberts, who represents the Plymouth ward, said that the building was “awful and in a prominent position in the town”.

“I don’t support it as it doesn’t improve the appearance of the building. They should rip the whole thing off and put the building back. I don’t support this as it’s an eyesore in a very prominent position.”

He added that he believed it looked like a “homemade garden shed” and it was “hideous”.

“It’s a pity someone couldn’t come up with a good idea so it stood out there, something like a Tardis,” he said.

“It looks awful and I don’t believe we should approve it. It should go.”

Councillor Janice Birch, who represents the Stanwell ward, defended the planning application and said that they should be given a second chance.

“I know it looks like a rundown little Greek temple, but I think he ought to be given the chance to be better,” she said.

The application “seeks the retrospective planning permission for the re-cladding of the building envelope in order to improve/enhance the appearance of the building, but more importantly to sustain a safe state of repair whilst the funds are raised to construct the approved design”

It added: “The proposal involves the removal of the perished elements of the building and making good and safe. The re-cladding proposal is loosely based on the concept of the approved application which involves horizontally orientated timber cladding.”

Kevin Halborg, who has owned the building for ten years and previously rented it out, said that he had spent more than £15,000 refurbishing the premises and that he was hoping it would improve the local community.

He added that he had received “overwhelming support” from local residents since the pizza outlet was launched last Monday (June 30), and that he hoped councillors would change their views and appreciate its artistic appearance.

“I have spent a lot of money on it and it has been done to improve the local community,” he said.

“I understand about the previous problems, but I wasn’t contacted for 18 months and I wasn’t able to put my side across.

“We would like to see some support from the council rather than restricting someone coming in with fresh ideas.

“We are just a small business cooking good food and that will always be the case no matter how the building looks.”

He added that art always divided opinions and that he hoped councillors would support his application so when he had more money he could redesign it.

He added that he redesigned it a few years ago when he was contacted by the Environmental Health Office after its food hygiene rating fell to one out of five.

After he redeveloped it the structure of the building was now safe and the food hygiene rating went from one to four out of five.

Mr Halborg, who has recently returned from serving in Afghanistan, added that he was also planning on raising money for the children’s hospice Ty Hafan and the Royal Marines Association through collection boxes. He added that they were also planning on helping out at a soup kitchen for the homeless once a month.