A Bath pub owner has said it is “disappointing” that the council have not given permanent permission to its garden bar and decking area.
Joe Cussens, managing director of the Bath Pub Company, which operates the Hare and Hounds in Lansdown, has been fighting to keep the pubs garden bar and decking which “saved their bacon”.
It had been constructed in a “live or die” moment for the pub earlier this year without planning permission amid repeated coronavirus lockdowns.
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After construction, Bath and North East Somerset Council planning department said the garden bar and decking couldn’t stay but councillors said an “alternative” could be found.
A retrospective planning application saw huge support with a total of 4,597 supportive comments, 19 comments and 16 objections.
Now the pub has been granted temporary permission for the garden bar for 12 months with planning department saying they “still recognise the need to aid local businesses affected by the pandemic where possible”.
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In refusing permanent permission the planning department say that the development is “incongruous” and say it “mimics” plans for one submitted in 2018 which were rejected and deemed “unacceptable”.
The Highways Department raised concerns saying it will increase on-street parking activities and “exacerbate” current on-site parking issues.
In its decision, the planning department conclude that the bar is considered “unacceptable owing to the detrimental impact on the setting of the listed building and the character and appearance of this part of the Bath Conservation Area”.
The Garden Bar at The Hare and Hounds
(Image: Joe Cussens)
They say: “The outside bar, by virtue of its location, scale, and the materials used, is considered visually prominent and incongruous. The structure is considered out of keeping with the listed building,particularly in the location proposed.
“With regards to the installed decking, it is considered that this development has had an unacceptable and detrimental visual impact on the listed building and its setting.”
In a statement, Mr Cussens said: “Whilst we are pleased we’ll be able to trade there for the next 12 months, we are disappointed that they have not granted full permission.
“It’s going to take us an awful lot longer than 12 months for the business to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”
Mr Cussens said it was also “disappointing” that the application had not been considered by a planning committee.
He went on to say that he disagreed with the planning officers comments that the outside bar and decking area is “incongruous” to the grade II-listed building.
The garden bar at the Hare and Hounds
(Image: Joe Cussens)
The statement says: “Incongruous in particular seems a strange choice of word to use to criticise the look of the outside bar in a pub garden.
“The dictionary defines ‘incongruous’ as ‘strange’, ‘incompatible’ or ‘inappropriate’.
“It’s a garden bar, in the garden of a pub. What is incompatible or inappropriate about that?”
The managing director went on to say that the huge public support seems to show that it does add something positive to the pub and to Bath.
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“Bearing in mind literally thousands of people supported the application saying how much they enjoy using it and what a great facility it provides (public benefits?), how much support does one need to show before they could be persuaded?
“They seem to be firmly in the minority in thinking the development is unsightly.
“Most people are of the view that far from inflicting harm on the building, it actually enhances and improves it. But it seems, they know better.”
Mr Cussens went on to cite recent publicity which bought customers from Cambridge to stay in the city helping the whole tourism industry.
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