Daily Mail Hypes Extractor Fan Objection

From the website of the Central Stockport Area Committee, announcing a meeting on 14 October:

At the next meeting on 14 October 2010, the following issues will be considered…

14 items are then listed; at number 4 we find:

A retrospective Planning application (DC044716) for the retention of extraction vent to front of shop at 159 Adswood Road, Cale Green – recommendation grant.

So far so boring – but a local resident named Graham Webb-Lee showed up to make an objection. The Daily Mail reports:

‘The vent is 12 inches from my front door. Every morning the smell of bacon comes through and makes me physically sick.

‘I have a lot of Muslim friends. They refuse to visit me anymore because they can’t stand the smell of bacon.’

He also mentioned “a daughter with an eating disorder” and a supposed odour on his clothes (His description of the position of the vent can be confirmed by looking on Google Street View). Consequently:

A spokesman for Stockport Council said: ‘The retrospective application was rejected on the grounds of residential amenity, as the committee felt the odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents.

The inevitable headline, of course:

Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan ‘because smell of frying bacon offends Muslims’

This was later amended to:

Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan because neighbour claimed ‘smell of frying bacon offends Muslims’

And it’s off around the world:

Beverley Akciecek, de 49 años, abnegada cocinera y propietaria del “Snack Shack”, un local donde sirven comida para llevar en Manchester, no se puede creer todavía la carta del Ayuntamiento donde la ordenan derribar su extractor de humos porque el olor del bacon y panceta a la plancha “ofende” a sus vecinos musulmanes. Los inspectores municipales…


Sur ordre de la municipalité, le gérant d’une sandwicherie doit désinstaller une hotte aspirante car “l’odeur du bacon offense les musulmans”…


Einer Imbissbuden-Eigentümerin aus England ist befohlen worden, einen Dunstabzug zu entfernen, weil der Geruch von gebratenem Speck Moslems missfällt.

Planungschefs der Stadt handelten gegen Beverley Akciecek (49), weil sich muslimische Nachbarn wegen des “stinkenden Geruchs” physisch krank fühlten…

With doubtless more to come – US anti-mosque demagogue Pamela Geller is on the case, predictably opining that

The world is descending into madness accommodating the most radical, intolerant ideology in the world.

13 Responses

  1. Where are you going with this? Are you saying that the complainant was bloody stupid for objecting or are you saying that the Planning Authority was bloody stupid for allowing the objection? I think not. I believe that you believe that (for some reason) the media are anti-muslim because they are saying that this has been disallowed because bacon is against Islam. Why has it been disallowed then? Your Aunt Edna (as you know) HATES the smell of coffee. If a Starbucks was built next door to you, with the obvious smells, would you object? Of course you wouldn’t! Perhaps because you’d be only too pleased not to see us again! This is a non-story. Were any other objections received? If so, what were they? If none then the Planning Authority were being bloody stupid bowing to the bloody stupid objection. My argument about coffee is simplistic but it emphasises the stupidity of the whole thing. If there is a serious reason for disallowing the vent then tell us the whole story and refute the (on the surface) reasonable arguments that the media bring forth.

    • I’m not sure where I’m going… but the place the Mail is taking us is rather alarming. From the picture, the vent is very close to the man’s front door, and he may or may not have a valid objection based on how it affects him. I think it was unwise of him to bring “Muslim friends” into it, but he didn’t talk about Muslims being “offended”, and the planning people don’t give this as the reason for their decision (at least, so far as is known). I agree that it’s a “non-story”, though – but it’s rapidly working its way around the world!

  2. Uncle Harry, did you actually read the post? The vent was just a foot from the complainant’s door and the smell of frying food sickened him.
    “…the committee felt the odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents” means that the planning committee got out and visited the place to see (and smell) it for themselves. Planning committees do not take peoples’ words for things like this.

    • Umm, no, the planning committee didn’t visit the location. Planning committees don’t usually visit locations. And yes, they do take people’s words for things like this.

      See the application itself to note that there is no date for the committee to visit. http://www.stockport.gov.uk and search for planning at 159 Adswood Road.

      @Uncle Terry – Yes, there was only one objection – from the neighbour. Yes it has been made into an anti-Muslim story by the Daily Mail even though they mention that the snack shop is owned by a Turkish person. In fact, the story is all about a neighbour making a complaint about a neighbouring business for what ever reason, maybe a pervious or ongoing dispute. The vent has been working for over 7 years spewing forth obnoxious smells why has the complaint only been made now. The neighbour could have made a complaint to the enviromental health department if they were really bothered.

  3. Just to add, there was a complaint made to enviromental health 18 months ago. It seems that because the council did nothing to satisfy Graham Webb-Lee he made the objection and possibly also reported the issue to the council in the first place.

    And finally, this is nothing to do with anti-muslims though the neighbour makes it out to be and the papers are all emphasising that aspect of it.

  4. Now we’re getting into Planning, something that I know a little about (being, in a previous life, a Highways Engineer). In my experience Planning always visited sites where there were objections but, if this had been going on for 7+ years, then it would appear that something had been done without Planning Permission and this would upset any Planning Authority! My comment was obviously too subtle for Sophia8 (by the way, I’m Terry – Harry was my dad so he would be Great Uncle Harry). It’s not about the vent’s rights or wrongs it’s about the way it’s presented on this blog (ie. they’re having a go at the Muslims again).

  5. […] Bartholomew’s Notes ci racconta una interessante caso di costruzione mediatica dell’islamofobia. […]

  6. I hate the smell of tar, but don’t oject to paving roads.

    The fact Bart defends the offended party, an aggrieved Muslim, despite the fact the fan’s been operating for years simply contributes to the climate of ‘scary Muslim’ he so loves to denounce.

    How long has the aggrieved neighbour been living at that address?

    Did the article not state that a muslim was the co-owner of the joint cooking the offensive bacon?

    Were a Hindu to ask the same of a restaurant cooking beef, should their complaint be acted upon as well? Where does the accommodation end?

    The utter cowardice of the bureaucrats in this story is what counts.

    Their cowardice, and their capitulation to an aggrieved Muslim, despite the fact the bacon itself was being cooked by another Muslim, is the real story here, and the one that will provide YET more grist for the EDL’s mill.

    Perhaps Lauren Booth could have mediated in exchange for a free BLT?

    • Yes, I defended an “aggrieved Muslim”… by pointing out that (a) he doesn’t appear to exist; and (b) that the council’s planning decision appears to have been made on other grounds.

      • Come on, a guy named “Graham Webb-Lee” is not an arabian?? How Should I believe it??? :-)

  7. Yes, I defended an “aggrieved Muslim”… by pointing out that (a) he doesn’t appear to exist; and (b) that the council’s planning decision appears to have been made on other grounds

    I suggest you do more research next time before doing another expose denouncing “islamophobia”

    When your responses contain the word ‘appears’ on multiple occasions, you’re obviously on thin ice.

    You’d probably assert that the Global Peaceand Unity Conference ‘appears’ to be Catholic in inspiration.

    • I suggest you do more research next time

      Surely you mean “less” research? As in: “Tabloid publishes scare story, it must be true and anyone who doubts it must be in favour of whatever it wants us to be scared of”

  8. “I suggest you do more research next time before doing another expose denouncing “islamophobia””

    OK, so let’s sum up here: a *non-Muslim* complains to the Council about bacon smells making his life hell. He throws in that he has Muslim friends who don’t like it either (probably because he’s heard they get favourable treatment from Councils – now where on Earth could that idea have come from?), and suddenly there is an international ragefest demanding grovelling apologies from Stockport Muslims for their uppityness and linking the episode to the War on Terror and the Threat of Caliphates. Even though no Muslims ever complained.

    Does it really need to be explained further why that is Islamophobic? Why Muslims in Stockport should feel somewhat upset?

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