Cafe worries can be kept under control with care

COMMENT: We all have a part to play in this special relationship

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It’s a shame that a plan to open a new cafe in Old Portsmouth’s historic arches has caused upset in some quarters.

We think many people will see this opportunity as a good thing and a sign of progress to come.

As far as locations go, it’s hard to imagine a more picturesque setting.

In fact, it’s very easy to imagine how local families and visitors to the city will love sitting outside at this well-known sun-trap to enjoy a cup of coffee, cool drink or an ice cream.

For plenty it perfectly sums up the continental idea of the cafe culture that city leaders have long been keen to replicate.

And a more long-term project to revamp the area around the Round Tower into an arts district could be seen as exactly the sort of exciting development Portsmouth needs in the future.

Brighton has already put its own seafront arches to great use to create a vibrant hub mixing the arts with cafes and bars – it would be nice to think Portsmouth could have something similar to offer.

But while the benefits of the Old Portsmouth scheme are clear to see, it’s understandable that those living closest to the site of the new cafe should have some concerns about what it will mean for them.

We sympathise with their point of view here, despite thinking that the overall redevelopment of Battery Point and the surrounding buildings is a good thing.

No-one wants their quality of life to be disrupted and the residents who spoke out at the recent planning meeting had every right to raise their concerns.

However, with proper and careful management, we see no reason why many of the things they fear will happen can’t be avoided.

The city council will be responsible for the cafe and must take precautions to ensure that litter, noise and parking issues don’t become a problem for those living there.

If excessive noise does become a problem, the council will have to deal with any complaints that arise.

But now that the decision to push ahead has been made, we hope it will be a great success.