Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Cafe wins support for new seating area despite noise fears

A COFFEE shop in Henley has won the support of town councillors for an outdoor decked area.

A COFFEE shop in Henley has won the support of town councillors for an outdoor decked area.

But another café due to open next month has been criticised over plans for an illuminated sign and a stall riser.

Caffè Nero applied for retrospective planning permission after creating a new seating area at the back of the premises in Bell Street.

Henley Town Council’s planning committee recommended approval despite concern over the risk of neighbours being disturbed.

Deputy Mayor Martin Akehurst said: “There are three private dwellings at the back, which it is getting close to.”

He suggested delaying a decision until a noise assessment could be carried out.

Councillor Sam Evans said she had sat on the decking and didn’t believe noise would be a problem for residents because the café was only open during the day.

She added: “I like the fact that they have gone backwards rather than forwards like every eatery in Henley is doing. I hate the fact they are doing it retrospectively but would have to say we vote for this because this is a good addition to a good business.”

Committee chairman Dieter Hinke said the former Le Parisien restaurant in Bell Street had not been allowed a decked area but Cllr Evans said a restaurant was different because it opened later than a café.

Councillor Lorraine Hillier, who abstained from the vote because she owns the Hot Gossip coffee house in Friday Street, said noise problems were usually associated with alcohol.

“With cafés you don’t get that because people have their conversations quietly when drinking soft drinks,” she said.

“It amazes me that there’s this backlash against cafés and tea shops but they allow pubs to have outside areas.” The committee’s recommendation to South Oxfordshire District Council included a comment that it “deplored” the fact that the application was made retrospectively.

Meanwhile, the committee recommended permission is refused for an illuminated projecting sign at Costa which is to open in the former Royal China restaurant premises in Duke Street.

Members were also concerned about the height of the proposed stall riser, a traditional feature of shops in the street.

Cllr Hinke said the stall riser should be 50cm high but the drawings in the application suggested it would be significantly lower.

Cllr Akehurst added: “Stall risers aren’t features, they are there for good reason. They are there to stop traffic hitting the building in an emergency.There have been two previous incidents on that road where cars have lost control. I would strongly suggest it’s put at a more appropriate height.”

Costa was previously criticised by councillors over its plans for a new aluminium-framed shop front set into the building by about 2m to provide room for outdoor seating for eight people.

Cllr Evans thanked Costa for trying to comply with the shopfront design guide but added: “We’re heading in the right direction but the stall riser needs looking at.”

The committee recommended approval of plans by Waitrose to install horticultural units in front of its store off Bell Street.

These would be placed beneath the canopy by the main entrance and be used to display and sell gardening products.

Cllr Akehurst said: “They probably need an armed guard to stop people nicking the plants but it’s a very good use of a dead corner.”

Four sets of non-illuminated green “Waitrose” lettering would also be placed on the building.

lWhat do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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