Voted one of the best places to eat in Somerset, most people would be happy to have the respected Duets restaurant right on their doorstep.
But not Richard Evans, who has been locked in a bitter 30-year feud with its owners over the smell of garlic emanating from an extractor fan.
Mr Evans claims the stench constantly pervades his front room and back garden, forcing him to close his windows.
He says the odour is being pumped out by a noisy extractor fan five feet away from his back window.
Mr Evans has lived next door to Duets in Weston-super-Mare for the past three decades, having moved in a year after the restaurant opened. He has always been at odds with the restaurant’s owners over issues ranging from noise to fumes, but the latest trouble flared two years ago when a new extractor fan was installed.
After complaints to Environmental Health officials failed, Mr Evans resorted to putting a large sign in his front window which reads: ‘His extractor fan has been polluting my outside space for years. I’m sick of it!’
The husband and wife owners of Duets, Sean and Lyn O’Flaherty, said they found the sign ‘depressing’ and have branded Mr Evans a trouble stirrer.
In retaliation, they put a sign in their restaurant window assuring customers that the extractor is ‘fully compliant’ with council regulations.
Mr Evans said yesterday: ‘Living next to a restaurant shouldn’t be a problem. The fan pumps cooking smells and noise into my yard. It’s five foot from my window and ten foot from my back door. It pollutes my backyard with the smell of garlic. In the summer, I’m sat inside with windows and doors shut.
‘I’ve lived here for more than 30 years and I’ve asked him over and over again, but he says, “don’t live next door to a restaurant”.’
Mr O’Flaherty said the signs have not affected business in the restaurant, which has hundreds of ‘excellent ratings’ on reviews website TripAdvisor.
He said: ‘He moved in a year after us, and since he moved in his complaints have gone from noise to fumes.
‘No matter what we do, it’ll always be something. We’re still running as normal, and we don’t want customers to be surprised by his sign.
‘But it depresses me when I see it. I don’t think we deserve it after all the effort we have put in. It’s not very nice for the area.’
Mrs O’Flaherty added: ‘We’re not awkward people. Sometimes, if we’re quiet, the fan may be on for 30 minutes. But we haven’t done anything wrong.
‘We had the fan redone two years ago, when he first complained to Environmental Health about us.
‘Everything fully complies with North Somerset Council’s health guidelines.
‘Even Environmental Health were surprised that he has complained to them again now. They said to him, “we haven’t heard from you in the past two years – why now?”’
‘He’s just an unpleasant character. He’ll stand in his back garden and shout over.
‘The signs haven’t affected our business and we’d like to thank all our loyal customers and fellow business owners for their support.’
A North Somerset council spokesman has since said the issue had been resolved in 2016, but that they were investigating Mr Evans’ recent complaints.Daily Mail