131 Promenade marquee decision
By Sarah Wood | 17th November 2023
Cheltenham Borough Council's planning committee made its decision last night (November 17) on whether marquees can stay at 131 Promenade.
SF Planning, acting on behalf of Julian Dunkerton's Lucky Onion, proposed making changes to the temporary structures and reducing the number from 19 to 16.
But council officers recommended members of the committee turned down the application.
The committee voted in support of the council's view that the marquees have to go and that the proposed changes won't make enough difference.
Presenting the bid to the committee, Simon Firkins of SF Planning, said: "We have reduced the number of marquees. The roof is significantly different, being two metres and about 40% lower, to reveal much more of the buildings and the side of 133 looking up Montpellier is also open.
"Hospitality continues to face unprecedented pressure. It remains important for the economy and the cultural offer and vitality of the town. Cheltenham's fine culture of independent hospitality helps make the town what it is."
He said that the fabric of the building would be unaffected by the proposed changes, meaning the reduced harm to the buildings is now outweighed by the benefits.
Cllr Tony Oliver, (LD Warden Hill) supported the application by Lucky Onion and SF Planning. He said: "There's no point having a heritage asset that's empty and crumbling. It's really popular and plays a key role in linking footfall between Montpellier and the Promenade.
"I understand the heritage argument, but I think it's more important that these buildings help to create a vibrant and lively atmosphere in the town."
Cllr Emma Nelson (Conservative Leckhampton) supported the officers' view that the temporary structures should go. She said: "These are right in your face. If we don't refuse them, it would be making an absolute mockery of the planning appeal system.
"The inspector has refused this on the basis that the marquees get in the way of the ground floor. The new application would be well in front of the ground floor, so they have not addressed the reasons for the inspector's refusal."
Lucky Onion, which owns the popular bar at 125-133 Promenade, had an application to keep the temporary structures at the Grade II listed buildings turned down by Cheltenham Borough Council in October last year. It then lost an appeal to keep them in August this year.
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