A two Michelin star restaurant is accused of ruining the tranquility of a peaceful hamlet by installing a ‘monstrous’ extractor fan and organising early morning deliveries.
The Raby Hunt in Summerhouse, near Darlington, County Durham, prides itself on it’s ‘highly original, simple, yet visually stunning food’.
But the exclusive eatery is at loggerheads with its neighbours over a ‘monstrous’ extractor fan they claim was ‘illegally’ installed there in May and can be heard by every surrounding resident.
There are further claims that the restaurant, run by celebrated chef James Close, arranges noisy collections and deliveries as early as 5.30am that are waking residents up.
Neighbours believe the owners have made unlawful changes to the Grade II-listed former drovers’ in.
The Raby Hunt (pictured) in Summerhouse, near Darlington, County Durham, prides itself on it’s ‘highly original, simple, yet visually stunning food’. But exclusive eatery is at loggerheads with its neighbours over a ‘monstrous’ extractor fan they claim was ‘illegally’ installed there in May and can be heard by every surrounding resident
As part of their campaign, they wrote objection letters to Darlington Borough Council while the restaurant was undergoing a £400,000 refurbishment.
Planning permission was granted for the renovations by the council’s planning committee, but the residents remain defiant it shouldn’t have been.
A letter signed ‘Y Stonehouse, ‘ a resident whose home is next to the restaurant, wrot: ‘The village of Summerhouse has suffered with the extraction system that was unlawfully placed on the side of the building with the noise which could be heard over the far side of the green and right up West Side road.
‘The noise commenced 8.00 in the morning right onto 11.30 at night which was unbearable when the staff forgot to reduce the power and was on full power most of the time since it was installed at the end of May 2017.’
The letter continues: ‘We also have taken account of the noise and light pollution of cars leaving at 1.30 in the morning, wagons, deliveries and rubbish collection at 5.30 in the morning.
‘Of paramount important is the severe implications imposed on security on our property which is now totally vulnerable to all and sundry from the main road.’
The neighbour also objected to the lowering of a boundary wall between the two properties.
David Coates, Darlington’s principal planning officer, said the extractor fan was an ‘inappropriate addition to a listed building’ and the ‘monstrosity’ should be removed.
But residents appear to be most concerned by the lowering of the restaurant’s stone boundary wall, which happened while work was being done on the kitchen earlier this year.
They claim the reduction in height had ‘affected their security’ and had seen a rise in visual and noise pollution.
One neighbour wrote: ‘When the wall was knocked down, we were told it would be replaced.
The Raby Hunt got planning permission for its £400,000 renovation, but neighbours are defiant the extractor fan and wall alterations are ‘ruining’ their peace and quiet. Pictured is Darlington Town Hall, home of Darlington Borough Council, where the decision was made
‘I have had to put security lights on my garage, remove the lights off my trees because people are attracted to them, and I am in the process of buying security cameras.
‘We moved here for peace and quiet – we did not move for deliveries at 5.30am.
‘We want the place to be successful, but there has to be consideration given for the village.’
Councillor Gerald Lee said he had never known deliveries to any restaurant at 5.30am ‘in all his years on the council’.
Restaurant owner Russell Close said he had only ever had once complaint about early morning noise, and that was due to rubbish collection.
He said: ‘When we took this project on, we promised to look after this Grade II-listed building. There has to be a certain amount of noise for a business of this nature.’
Cllr Paul Baldwin, chair of the meeting, said he would raise the concerns with the council’s environmental health team.
The 26 cover Raby Hunt, which secured its first star in 2012, was the only one to receive a second star in the 2017 edition of the Michelin Guide.
James Close said at the time: ‘To get two Michelin stars puts you in a category that’s the elite.
‘The Raby Hunt is a small restaurant in the North East, but it shows what you can do if you put your mind to it.’
On its website, the restaurant describes itself as follows: ‘Set in the heart of the rural hamlet of Summerhouse, near Darlington, in beautiful County Durham, The Raby Hunt is North East England’s first and only two Michelin star restaurant.
‘Owned and run by one of Britain’s most exciting and innovative young chefs, James Close, he is known for his highly original, simple, yet visually stunning food.
‘Theatre, presentation and seasonality are to the fore, with The Raby Hunt offering just the one 12/15-course tasting menu.
‘Housed in a 200-year-old Grade 2 listed former drovers’ inn, The Raby Hunt has recently been extensively refurbished, with the kitchen now on view to allow diners a glimpse of the drama and excitement of a busy two Michelin star restaurant in full-swing.’
MailOnline has contacted Raby Hunt for further comment.