First it was a 'Teletubbies house', now Neville has restaurant plans

 

Should it all go wrong with his new career as a television football pundit, the former Manchester United and England star Gary Neville might now be able to fall back on an alternative as a restaurateur.

Salford City Council has belatedly granted Neville and his father, Neville Neville, planning permission for a 100-seat restaurant across the river from Old Trafford after overcoming objections from 200 local residents.

Neville, who has described himself as the "most-hated man in English football", has been busy earning plaudits after taking up the expert's microphone for Sky Sports this season, replacing Andy Gray, who was sacked in a row over sexist comments. But he is unlikely to be seen ushering diners to their seats at the new venture any time soon, his father said. Neville Snr insisted plans for the disused former social club were at an early stage but the idea of a franchise fronted by his son was unlikely.

"It's not going to be the next Kentucky Fried Chicken," he said. "We own three shops at the side of it and we bought this when it became available. All we have done is apply through the proper channels for planning permission. We have got it and now, over a period of time, we will sit back and consider what we want to do with it," Neville Snr said.

The development is one of three currently in the pipeline for the Nevilles' development company, Signature. These also include the vast eco-friendly house near Bolton that was designed to look like the petals of a flower.

While some critics said it reminded them of the Neolithic Skara Brae in Orkney, it ended up being compared to a dwelling from the children's television series Teletubbies. The subterranean family home in Pennine moorland was given the go-ahead after receiving the blessing of the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Opponents of the latest Neville development had gathered a 200-name signature objecting to the new restaurant on the site of the fire-damaged Folly Lane Social Club in Swinton on grounds of traffic and noise.

Neville, who shocked fans this weekend by describing his 85-cap England career as a waste of time in the serialisation of his autobiography Red, agreed to cut the number of seats and to increase parking spaces.

But Paul Harvey, 37, who lives in the area, said he was still unhappy: "Reducing the number of covers and tinkering with the parking provision is not going to prevent parking chaos."

Such criticism is unlikely to faze Neville, who served under Sir Alex Ferguson. "Once the boss has ripped you apart a few times, and you've had a captain like Keano [Roy Keane] put you in your place, you can handle anything," he wrote in his new book.

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