Warwick restaurateur may have to demolish pergola after councillors deem it 'unsuitable for conservation area'

The owner said the structure was put up to allow diners to sit outside after having the capacity of his restaurant halved by the current Covid-19 restrictions.

A restaurateur may have to demolish a pergola outside his Warwick premises after councillors agreed that it was unsuitable for the conservation area.

The owner of the Dough and Brew eaterie had put the wooden structure up at his Brook Street premises to allow diners to sit outside after having the capacity of his restaurant halved by the current Covid-19 restrictions.

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But planning officers said the appearance of the framework - which is bolted to the side of the building - harmed the look of the surrounding area.

The pergola outside Dough and Brew. Photo submitted

Warwick District Council’s development services manager Gary Fisher told this week’s [WED] planning committee why they had come to that decision.

He said: “The key issues here are very much around the impact the structure has on the character and appearance of the conservation area balanced with the benefits of the structure to the business in question particularly in the current circumstances.

“Officers feel that the benefits could be achieved by an alternative structure with an improved design and appearance which would be more acceptable in a conservation area.”

The applicant, John Martin, told the committee that the capacity inside the restaurant had halved and added that the pergola had not yet been finished.

He said: “The site is not located in an overly prominent part of the conservation area.

"Instead it is in a quiet corner of the town behind Marks and Spencer and Westgate House.

"We plan to complete the work to a high standard and are happy to work with officers to agree to landscaping features and materials.”

Cllr Terry Morris (Con, Warwick Saltisford) suggested a temporary solution to the problem.

He said: “There is a very sensible proposal within the report made by environment health in keeping with the Business and Planning Act 2020 which came through a few weeks ago to help support businesses.

"They have suggested temporary planning up to September 31, 2021 which is when the Act expires.

“There are a number of businesses who are responding to coronavirus and this isn't the only one that’s built something with, or without planning permissions.

"There are several other public houses or restaurants within the district where things have sprung up to cover outside areas. “

But other councillors disagreed and the planning application for the pergola was refused.