Controversial curry house plans are set to steam ahead in Emsworth

The former Spencer's restaurant in Emsworth. Anna Khoo
The former Spencer's restaurant in Emsworth. Anna Khoo

Controversial plans for a restaurant in Emsworth could see a curry house take the place of a 19th century building by Spring next year.

Spencers restuarant at 36-38 North Street was demolished earlier this year to make way for a two-storey Thyme and Chillies Indian restaurant, despite objections from residents.

Manager Mayank Gupta said the business is waiting on an archeological survey before building work can begin, but he hopes to bring something new to the area.

He said: “Hopefully people will like it and we’ll get the investment returned, it may take some time.

“It’s not to make a fast buck, we want to give people an experience and it’s a long term project. We’re here to stay.”

A structural engineer behind the project expressed concerns as to the safety of carrying out extensive rennovation work on the original building and recommended that the restaurant constructed in 1805 be demolished.

Many residents opposed the plans as it was felt the loss of the shop front in particular would take from the character of the area.

One resident called the proposal ‘historical desecration and nothing but a ploy to reduce costs’.

Nevertheless, permission was granted in November and Mr Gupta and his associates are now set to build their first Emsworth branch.

Dr Gupta, an orthopaedic surgeon, runs the Thyme and Chillies in Birdham Road, Chichester with his wife Nita, a dental surgeon, Thomas Rozario and Sanjay Jha, who also manages two resturants in Petworth and Fernhurst.

Dr Gupta is confident that their authentic Indian taste will win over eaters.

“People are creating their own naans and baltis and Chicken Tikka Masala, but it’s not the authentic Indian food,” he explained.

“It’s not about chillies or spices, it’s about the things that are in proportion as it should be and the way it’s traditionally cooked.

“We cook fresh, we cook the vegetables fresh, and that’s why it’s been a success, becuase people understand the difference.”

Cookery classes on how to make curries from scratch and a separate upstairs area for private functions are planned for the new building.

A second Chichester outlet could follow if it is a success.

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