PLANS for a permanent coffee shop on Portsmouth seafront have been given the green light – despite concerns over its design and potential impact on the environment.
Members of the council’s planning committee voted in favour of Coffee Cup replacing its mobile hut on Eastney beach with a single-storey building with decking at a public meeting yesterday.
Some nearby residents said they were unhappy that the cafe’s exterior would include steel shutters and a felt roof.
John Holland, of Marine Court, Southsea, told members: ‘There is a similar seaside cafe in Littlehampton and it looks beautiful.
‘It’s a display of craftsmanship and is made of driftwood and fits in with the shape of the sea.
‘I am sorry to say but the design of the cafe before us does not show any of those attributes.
‘The felt roof extraction and steel shutters are disappointing.’
Planning officers recommended the council rejected the application because an environmental assessment hadn’t been carried out first.
Councillors also heard that government body Natural England recommended a refusal.
But Alex Bentley, a former councillor for Eastney and Milton, dismissed the claims.
‘The Coffee Cup will be in harmony with the environment and its impact will be minimal,’ he said.
‘The grass that is on the beach now was only put there by the military between the 1950s and 1960s to stop stones flying up when they crossed it.
‘Then back in the 1980s the council said it wanted to get rid of all that nasty vegetation which had been left to grow.’
Councillor Lee Hunt, who chaired the meeting, said permission should be granted because the council’s chief planning document says efforts should be made to help small cafes and restaurants grow.
He added: ‘I recently visited the site and found the only wildlife there was shingle and pebbles.’
As previously reported, the application was inadvertently turned down at the last planning meeting following a misunderstanding between councillors and officers.
Coffee Cup manager Adam Parsons, 30, said: ‘I’m really happy with the result. It’s been a long battle but we’re pleased that common sense has prevailed at last.’