B&NES Council is unable to take any enforcement action against Costa Coffee over tables and chairs placed on the pavement outside its High Street cafe until the planning application asking for permission is determined. Earlier this year, the company submitted a planning application to put 3 tables and 6 chairs in front of the entrance. Many residents, along with the Council’s Highways Department objected on the grounds that it would cause a restriction to pedestrians and mobility scooter users. Costa subsequently amended it application, reducing permission to 2 tables and four chairs and the case was due to be heard at the July meeting of B&NES Council’s Development Control Committee (Wednesday 3rd July). However, last month, tables and chairs suddenly appeared in front of the cafe, although not in the location indicated in its last application. Within days, a third table and chairs was added, and then last week, screens also appeared.
According to a spokesman from B&NES Council, the matter has been reported to the Development Control Committee for this week’s meeting but planning law prevents the Council from taking any action until the pending application has been determined. If it is rejected and Costa decide to appeal, no action could be taken until the outcome was known. By this time of course, Winter will no doubt have returned and the tables and chairs will have disappeared.