Plans for a popular cafe to create an outdoor seating area are set to be turned down – despite more than 100 customers praising the scheme.
Coffee shop 52 Broadway in Fulford applied for planning permission to build a 2.9 metre-high Viking-style shelter in front of the business.
The owners say the existing outdoor tables and chairs have been “very popular” with residents, particularly people with mobility problems.
The council received 106 letters supporting the plans – with people saying the cafe “has brought the community together” and that it is “beneficial for local people without transport”.
Other letters of support said the extra sheltered seating is important because of the pandemic, while another wrote: “This could become a community hub for old and young alike and particularly support people who are elderly and on their own.”
But eight letters objecting to the plans were received, praising the cafe but voicing worries about loss of pavement space, the appearance of the timber shelter and the impact on next door neighbours.
‘Enlargement would cause harm’
Council planning officers say the structure “appears incongruous and a little cramped”.
They say the plans should be refused. The conclude: “It is recognised that the café has become a popular venue and helps to improve community cohesion and the wellbeing of those who visit.
“There would clearly be benefits to the owners and wider community if further customer space were available at the site.
“It is considered however, that the proposed enlargement would cause harm.”
“Significant concerns exist in respect to harm to the living conditions of the occupants of 54 Broadway, harm to the appearance of the streetscape and harm to the safety of pedestrians using the narrowed pathway past the proposed structure.”
Theresa Burn, who runs the cafe with her family, said refusing the plans would be a “shame for a community” that has supported each other during the pandemic.
She said: “All walks of life come in and enjoy the 52 Broadway community hub. It will take away what they have built up since lockdown.
“Staying safe in your own community instead of having to go to crowded places in the city. People feel safe.
“It’s not far to travel in a mobility scooter or wheel chair. It’s just a shame.
“They will leave Fulford and go elsewhere. This is a safe place and where they can find out what is happening and sometimes we are the only conversation people have.”
The plans will be decided at a meeting on Thursday from 4.30pm. You can watch it live on the City of York Council YouTube page.