Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Coffee shop facing fight to have pavement tables

COMPLAINTS have been made about Henley’s newest coffee shop within weeks of it opening.

COMPLAINTS have been made about Henley’s newest coffee shop within weeks of it opening.

Costa put tables and chairs on the pavement in Duke Street without planning permission and residents complained to the town council about the public highway being blocked.

The company removed the furniture when officials from South Oxfordshire District Council investigated.

Now it has since applied for planning permission but both Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, and Henley Town Council are opposing the application.

County council official Thomas Cockhill said Duke Street was busy with both pedestrians and traffic and the tables and chairs would reduce the pavement to a width of 2.4m.

He added: “The likely situation is tables and chairs being moved away from the shop frontage and therefore reducing the available width of the footway to an unacceptable level.

“Any reduction would be detrimental to highway safety and to users of the highway.”

Henley Deputy Mayor Martin Akehurst said: “I would despair of anybody sitting outside with the traffic. The pollution there would fry their brains.

“I am very glad Costa has taken over that shop but this is not a good idea.”

Councillor David Silvester said he thought that the pavement was wide enough, adding: “I don’t see one strand of tables and chairs would be a problem at all.”

Committee chairman Dieter Hinke replied: “We have enough problems with A-boards in Henley…. if you have a double buggy it would be difficult to get past.”

Costa opened last month in the former Royal China restaurant which had been empty for almost five years. It is the town’s ninth coffee shop. A Costa spokeswoman said: “We await the council’s final decision on the matter.”

Meanwhile, the Henley Brew House pub in Market Place is facing objections to an application for planning permission to retain an illuminated sign.

Neighbour Alexandra Fasulo says the light from the sign shines into the living room of her flat in Peels Yard.

She said: “It means the blinds need to be shut to block this intrusive light.”

Trevor Dean, an environmental health officer with South Oxfordshire District Council, agreed, saying: “I have concerns that light trespass from the signage will cause a loss of amenity to the adjoining property.” But Jamie Preston, a conservation and design officer, has no objection to the timber sign.

He says: “The illumination is discreetly attached to the bracket in a similar manner to other hanging signs in Market Place.”

Henley Town Council’s planning committee has recommended the application is refused.

Cllr Hinke said: “I have concerns about light trespass from the sign. I do support local business but a neighbour has complained quite strongly.”

Cllr Akehurst suggested reducing the light wattage.

A final decision on both applications will be made by the district council by November 11.

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