Worthing beach shelter restaurant plans latest
The future of a beach shelter set to be turned into a restaurant will be discussed by councillors today (August 25).
The shelter is located opposite the Marine Parade and West Buildings junction, 400 metres west of the pier.
Full permission to turn the shelter into a two-storey restaurant with outdoor seating and a terrace was granted in November 2019.
Now, developer Nextcolour Ltd wants to accommodate not one but two restaurants in the new building because of the ‘impacts of Covid-19 on the hospitality industry’.
Worthing Borough Council previously opened up the site for development and Bistrot Pierre, which has a restaurant in Eastbourne, was the winning bidder.
The chain appointed administrators last year which put the future of the seafront restaurant in question.
Nextcolour Ltd has now ‘pre-let’ the development to two restaurant chains: The Lounges and Hub Box, suggesting Bistrot Pierre has pulled out, with the chain’s branding has also been removed from revised designs.
The Lounges runs bars and restaurants across the UK including Alcampo in Brighton, Establo in Rustington, and Fuego in Lewes.
Hub Box operates burger restaurants across the country including a branch at Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays.
Both would be hoping to open ‘as soon as possible’ and the developer said this could be as soon as next month.
It is seeking permission for what it calls ‘minor amendments’ to the layout of the building. This could include making the building larger, building a balcony on the first floor and moving doors and windows to accommodate two restaurants.
However, this is subject to approval and is set to be discussed by councillors today (August 25).
Council officers have recommended that the application is refused because the building is located in a conservation area which could be affected if the building is allowed to increase in size.
Officers explained: “The key issue is whether the revised design is acceptable given the prominent location of the building in the conservation area and its relationship with heritage assets.”
They added that design ‘is of even greater importance’ than before due to ‘the increased size’ of the building.
Council officers recommended that the planning committee delegates approval for the amendments to the head of planning, subject to new plans being submitted.
The Worthing Society objected to the new plans, saying: “In our opinion the level of alteration, particularly the increased footprint, is such that to deal with this proposal as an amendment is inappropriate and a new application should be required with a commensurate level of detailed drawings, revised visuals and commentary.
“This site is in a Conservation Area and has a number of listed buildings nearby.
“We have no objection to a restaurant or café on the beach at this location but the increased size of the proposed building with the additional balcony and other additions plus the decking is too large and not in keeping with the location.”
The agent has since responded to the group’s concerns, saying: “We’d suggest that an objection cannot be sustainably made on the basis of an increase in scale at one part without accepting there are reductions elsewhere.
“As you will be aware the need for greater space to allow for greater social distancing – not just between customers and diners but serving staff as they wait on tables is now a requirement.
“There is no limitation to covers in the planning permission already obtained”
Bistrot Pierre has been approached for comment.
Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee will discuss the proposed amendment at a meeting tonight (August 25).