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Housing plan proposed at landmark Southam restaurant

Picture from Google
Picture from Google

A LANDMARK restaurant and hotel could be demolished to make way for a cul-de-sac of eight houses.

The Tarsus Restaurant and Hotel, which has been part of the landscape in Southam since it opened in 1982, is the subject of a planning application submitted by developers Court Residential to Stratford District Council.

However, a spokesperson for the restaurant said there were no firm plans for it to close permanently, despite being temporarily shut due to the coronavirus crisis.

The plans would involve the demolition of all existing buildings on the site – including not only the popular Greek and Turkish restaurant, but also the neighbouring 14-bed hotel. The complex has been owned and run by Cypriot husband and wife Mustafa and Sengul Seyfi since they took over the site of the former Southam Zoo.

A planning application was made in 2018 for a five-house development. Liz Nicholson, a director of Stansgate Planning which is acting as agents for Rugby-based Court Residential, said the new application amounted to a "reconfiguration" of the plans, adding: "There was quite a lot of discussion about the layout of the buildings."

Southam Town Council has formally objected to the latest plans, arguing that the town has no shortage of building land and has already seen lots of recent development.

Town clerk Debbie Carro said: "The town council considers that it's too high a density for the plot. There isn't a need for that at the moment."

She described the current application as "ill-considered and messy" and added that the owners had to prove the restaurant was "not viable" before a change of use for the land should be allowed.

Comments on the application can be made to the district council until 14th May, after which it will be considered by a future meeting of the planning committee.

Famous for its regular Greek nights, including authentic cuisine, traditional dancing and plate-smashing, the Tarsus is named after a city in Turkey, where the Roman general Mark Antony is said to have met the Egyptian queen Cleopatra in 41BC.

Like all other restaurants, it is currently closed, but before the outbreak of the pandemic it had been advertising dates in May, June and July for its Greek Nights.

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