Residents wary of Canoe Lake food stalls plan

Canoe Lake in Southsea

Canoe Lake in Southsea

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PLANS for a raft of new facilities around Canoe Lake have been unveiled before a meeting of city residents.

Portsmouth City Council told a meeting of the East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum of its plans to bring new places to eat and drink to the areas around the popular spot.

The plans include the addition of tea rooms to Lumps Fort, somewhere to eat near the former ladies’ bowling pavilion, a nursery for youngsters, and the continued operation of tennis courts.

But people have received the plans with caution, saying there should be more focus on sports and activities than food outlets.

There was also concern the tranquil environment of the Rose Gardens could be harmed by the addition of tea rooms in Lumps Fort.

The idea is due to be formally put before the council next week, but the councillor in charge of culture, Cllr Lee Hunt, wanted residents to be consulted first.

He said: ‘People overwhelmingly have told us that there aren’t enough places along the seafront to get a tea or a coffee and we have set about changing that.

‘For example, the café at the Hot Walls and the Yellow Kite Café at Southsea Castle.

‘We need to bring that to Canoe Lake because people told us that is what they wanted. If there is massive opposition to it, then I will make the decision not to do it.

‘We are very much aware of the sensitivity around the Rose Gardens.

‘We had the same kind of concerns from people around the Hot Walls and now they all use the café there.

‘It is not in our interest to go upsetting everybody, so we will be listening on this.’

Cllr Hunt said any food outlets would have to be in line with the council’s healthy living policies and would be of a ‘high quality’.

Christine Hill, 55, of Whitwell Road in Southsea, said: ‘The plans seem to focus on catering but we aren’t really getting any idea what these plans are going to do for sports and activities in the area.

‘The focus should be on activities, and that is where our priorities should lie.

‘Obviously it’s good they are looking at doing something different with the area but it is still important that the tennis courts are looked after.’

A report will go before the council next Friday.

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