Friday, 23 September 2011

Costa wins seating battle

KNOWLE residents can now enjoy a drink outside Costa coffee after the firm won a planning battle with council bosses.


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The company has overturned a Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council ruling that it could not place tables and chairs outside.

The rule was made when planning permission for the High Street branch was given in March.

But the independent Planning Inspectorate has overturned this after Costa appealed.

The inspector said the key issue was highway safety and the plan would “more than comply” with guidelines around space needed for pedestrians.

They said: “In addition, pavement cafes can be attractive features, encouraging people to stay longer and spend more in a centre, adding to its vitality and viability.

“Therefore I conclude that the condition is not necessary or reasonable in the
interests of highway safety.”

But it would not allow a Costa plan to put up barriers bearing its brand as they would be “alien” and the “vibrant colours could harm the appearance of the area”.

The inspector said no more than three tables and chairs can be placed outside from 9am to 6pm.

Ten letters opposed the Costa plan in March along with The Knowle Society, which said outdoor seating would be a “nuisance”.

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