Radcliffe café owner appeals for Rushcliffe Borough Council to approve business expansion to combat impact of coronavirus
A café owner who wants to expand her business due to customers fears over covid says it will suffer significantly if planning approval is not granted.
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s planning officers have recommended that an outdoor extension at the Café Piano in Main Road, Radcliffe, is refused permission.
The application seeks full planning permission for the construction of a single-storey front extension to accommodate an additional eating/drinking area.
Owner Mahsa Yazdanparst, who has run the Italian-style café and restaurant business since 2008, said in her application: “For over a decade Café Piano has played a central role in the vitality of the village.
“Covid-driven challenges continue to affect the business and, whilst during the relatively warmer period of the year we managed to make the most of the outdoors seating area, the cold/wet weather does not allow this.
“The emergence of the new covid variant (in late 2021) has already impacted the business again.
“The all-weather stylish outdoor glass room constructed from a high-quality metal frame and sliding shatter proof glass panels would enable customers to be served in a well-ventilated but environmentally friendly temperature-controlled space and would not encroach on to neighbouring businesses space or the pavement and highway.
“It would continue to enhance the vitality of the village regardless of the weather or with covid conditions which show no sign of subsiding.”
Three councillors have supported the application and want to see local businesses thriving on the high street.
Radcliffe Parish Council has objected, saying it has concerns that nearby trees may be removed and that the extension does not fit in with the current street scene.
The council’s design and landscape officer said that the five trees along the frontage of the row of shops are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).
He is worried about the impact the extension would have on a protected maple tree outside the café, that enhances the street scene.”
The council concludes: “The impact of the covid pandemic on business such as the applicants, and the economic benefits in terms of enabling the business to expand are acknowledged.
“However, after careful consideration it is considered that the adverse impact on the environment identified above would outweigh the limited social economic benefits of the development.”
Officers have recommended the application is refused stating the extenstion would have an intrusive visual impact in the street scene, which would be unsympathetic to the character of the surroundings.
The proposed development would also result in the loss of a maple tree which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order and which enhances the street scene and has notable public amenity value.
Mrs Yazdanparst told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The café is in the middle of the village, in the heart of it, and we have lots of regular customers. At one point we were the only café in the village.
“The extension is really important because demand is growing.
“After covid, even now, people prefer to sit outside. We have a seating area outside but when it rains or is windy, people can’t. We have a lot of people calling us saying they want to sit outside.
“If I can’t do the extension then I can’t expand the business and provide the service people want in the village. We have won awards for best service.
“It will be more welcoming for people in the evening in Radcliffe. I have been here since 2008 and the last thing I want to do is close the business but it is the financial impact it makes.
“I think the extension will benefit the village and me as a business but if it doesn’t go ahead I have to see what is next.”
Councillors will decide the fate of the application when they meet at a planning committee on Thursday (July 14).