A MANAGER of a coffee shop in Bournemouth has expressed frustration at the council’s decision to decline the shop’s planning application for outdoor seating ahead of April 12.

James Harris, manager of South Coast Coffee on Richmond Hill, applied for permission to introduce removable decking at the front of the building to allow outdoor seating.

The design of the decking would see it folded away and moved from outside of the building at the end of each day.

However, permission was rejected by BCP Council.

James said: “We recognised that outdoor seating is a good opportunity, especially as we don’t know how likely it is that we will survive the pandemic.

“If ever there was a time (apart from the Second World War) where independent businesses need to be cut some slack, this would be the time and the council should be flexible.

“I told the council that we’re not looking to block the pavement permanently, and that we would have it professionally made so the decking can be folded away, but we have been met with bureaucracy and red tape.

“Outdoor seating is the difference between us prospering and treading water financially. An extra bit of seating could make a difference."

BCP Council has said it will process pavement licence applications within 14 days and will inspect new locations to make sure they are safe, there will be no obstruction or potential for nuisance.

The council will also consider possible noise disturbance.

BCP Council deputy leader Cllr Philip Broadhead said: “Creating a cafe and street culture is something we are eager to encourage when government guidance changes and we are able to come together once again.

“To support the bounce back of the local economy and to give businesses the opportunity to utilise the space outside their premises, a fast track pavement licence scheme for cafes, restaurants, bars and many more high street businesses in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole has already been established.

“This has been incredibly successful and over 120 businesses have already received their pavement licence in advance the lifting of restrictions.”

According to the council, the application submitted by South Coast Coffee has not been declined in full.

Their plans to install decking on the public footpath incline would “restrict access to less than two metres”, which is not permitted under government guidelines.

Officers have been in contact with the establishment advising that tables and chairs would be permitted as a suitable alternative and discussions are still ongoing.