Dunchurch restaurant angers residents with 'hideous' signs on Grade II-listed building

A view of the signs at night at the Dunchurch crossroads.
A view of the signs at night at the Dunchurch crossroads.

A popular Indian restaurant which angered Dunchurch residents by installing two ‘hideous’ signs has temporarily halted council enforcement action by applying for retrospective planning permission.

On September 4, with no planning permission, the owners of Malancha installed two brightly lit signs on the side of the business’s Grade II-listed building on Daventry Road – part of a conservation area.

“Most people in the village are very unhappy with it. I haven’t met anyone yet who likes it,” said Anne Wright, chairperson of the Friends of Dunchurch.

A spokesperson for Rugby Borough Council said, after receiving more than 20 complaints about the signs, a planning enforcement officer made contact with the restaurant’s owner but before enforcement action could be taken the owner applied for planning permission.

This means enforcement action must be suspended for around eight weeks while the application is considered.

Several present for an October 1 meeting of Dunchurch Parish Council slammed the signs.

The meeting took place before it was revealed that the restaurant’s owner had submitted a retrospective planning application.

Peter Eccleson, chair of the parish council, told those at the meeting: “We’ve put in our objection, as have members of the public, to the signs at Malancha restaurant. Which are clearly in breach of any kind of planning regulation.

“I believe, and this is hearsay, that the strategy is to challenge and challenge - and keep those hideous signs on that restaurant for as long as they can.”

One resident at the meeting said: “It’s just making a mockery of the whole system, surely?”

Cllr Carolyn Watson-Merret, also at the meeting, said: “When I first came up to the crossing to pull up at the lights, I was confused about the lighting because it all felt red so I stopped, and it was meant to be green for me to go. That light is so powerful I thought, ‘That is a safety hazard’.”

Another resident added: “You can see what they’re up to. There’s probably not anyone in Dunchurch now who doesn’t know about it. It’s the best advertising they could ever wish for. I’d give it six months and they’ll come down.”

The restaurant is otherwise popular, scoring highly in customer reviews online.

Malancha Indian restaurant and takeaway, previously Omar’s, was approached for comment but has not supplied one at the time of publishing.