Thursday, 11 August 2022

Cafe in polluted street wants outdoor seating

A HENLEY café and delicatessen is seeking planning permission to set up tables and chairs on the pavement outside for customers to use.

Spoon, which opened at the former Noa Noa womenswear premises in Duke Street last year, is supported by town councillors despite concerns about air pollution.

The Costa coffee shop, which is a few doors away on a narrower section of pavement, was granted permission for outdoor seating in 2014.

A meeting of the town council’s planning committee heard that Spoon also wanted planters by the seating.

Four people have written to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, in support of the idea while the Henley Society has expressed concern about traffic fumes.

Mayor-elect Will Hamilton said: “Spoon is proving very popular and is an independent business so I think we ought to give it a chance.

“It would tidy up the appearance of that part of the street and give people a chance to enjoy a coffee outside.”

Councillor Kellie Hinton, who is chairwoman of Henley in Bloom, said: “It’s the most polluted street in Henley and it does people no good to be sitting out there for any longer than they need to be.

“However, because of Costa, we’re in no position to complain.”

Committee chairman Simon Smith said: “I tend to agree with the Henley Society but you could argue the atmosphere’s not much better in Market Place, where there is seating.”

Cindy Gillett, who owns Spoon, said: “If you’re sitting at Costa you’re practically on the kerb whereas it’s different for us. We’re set much further back and have a lot more space.

“We want the seating because so many customers have asked when we’ll be offering it. It’s something every other café has and we’re just responding to demand.”

She said it was hoped to fill the planters with plants that would absorb air pollution.

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