COUNCILLORS have given the green light for a Boscombe restaurant to serve food and drink from its new beach decking.

The managing director of Urban Reef had warned that refusing to extend its licence could force it out of business after a “really tough” pandemic.

Following this, a BCP Council licensing sub-committee approved its proposals, allowing the use of its £70,000 beach decking.

The application was submitted in March and proposed extending the existing licence for Urban Reef to cover the new decked area on the beach.

“Bringing this within the licensed area provides some advantages over the current situation, not least in that it provides the ability for additional control to be exercised over the area,” a letter by solicitor Jon Payne said.

And restaurant managing director Mark Cribb said the extra provision was needed to help the business recover from the pandemic.

“This period has been really tough, operating with Covid restrictions, either being told to fully close and cease trading or to operate at less capacity,” he said. “We've lost 50 per cent of our revenue.

“This year we've already completely lost Easter, we've lost the first bank holiday due to heavy rain and even when we do reopen next week we have social distancing, the rule of six, no events or no parties.”

He added that the business was “on the brink of failure” and needed to be given a chance to “trade its way out” of the pandemic.

But concerns were raised by Dorset Police about its capacity to police the seafront after licences had already been granted for the council to host five pop-up restaurants on Bournemouth’s beaches.

“My concern is that without additional measures in place the extension of the existing provision will adversely impact the ability of Dorset Police and our partners to manage the demand from the volume of visitors to the Bournemouth beaches,” licensing sergeant Gareth Gosling said.

A number of conditions had been agreed between the force and the restaurant but others proposed had not.

Despite this, a council licensing sub-committee agreed to grant the licence.

Its chairman, councillor Judy Butt, said each application had to be considered individually and licence conditions tailored to them.

The decision was made at the May 12 meeting but has only been made public with the publication of a formal decision notice.