Pub and bar on historic high street want to open outdoor areas after being forced to close for four months during pandemic

Shaniqua Juliano

Business Popular bars which were forced to close their doors for more than four months due to the pandemic are facing opposition to their plans to boost their businesses by creating outside seating areas on a historic street. Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 5:46 am Stokesley High Street firms Green Man […]

Popular bars which were forced to close their doors for more than four months due to the pandemic are facing opposition to their plans to boost their businesses by creating outside seating areas on a historic street.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 5:46 am

Stokesley High Street firms Green Man Micropub and Bar TRU:VAI have lodged planning applications with Hambleton District Council to create 18sq m and 25sq m seating areas on Stokesley Manorial Trust land in front of their premises.

Many pubs, restaurants and cafes have moved to serve more customers outdoors after the government simplified and reduced the costs of the licensing process for outdoor seating, making it easier for people to safely drink and dine outside.

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However, due to limited amounts of space on the pavement on Stokesley High Street, the bars, which have been trading for just three years in total, are seeking to create extra seating on the cobbled area.

Documents submitted for the Green Man proposal state Stokesley Manorial Trust, which is run by Stokesley Town Council, has in principle accepted a plan to reduce the number of car parking spaces on the cobbled area and introduce seating.

The businesses say they want more space to safely house their customers, while scores of residents have backed plans to change the use of the cobbles, saying such firms should be given as much support as possible with social distancing restrictions in place.

In a letter of support to planners, Sean Speight said: “This would be a great way to improve our community, allowing poeple to enjoy the atmosphere of Stokesley High Street while having a safe area to meet and help Stokesley be a prosperous town. We need to help our local businesses as much as possible.”

In another letter, Stephen Harding added: “Let us get more continental here, its a well known fact us Brits love sitting outside in the street whenever we go abroad, its natural and it brings the high street alive.”

However, some residents have objected to both proposals and Stokesley Conservation Area Advisory Group said it considered the cobbles to be an historic heritage asset and that they should not be covered and could be damaged.

The cobbles are overlooked by listed buildings dating to the 18th century, when Stokesley developed to become the principal market town in Cleveland due to its flourishing businesses.

The group said the plans would mean the loss of 12 car parking spaces, adding: “Stokesley is desperately short of car parking spaces, so where will customers travelling to these venues park?

“In principal the idea of a cafê society similar to that in Continental Europe is a worthy aspiration, but until Stokesley High Street has a 20mph speed restriction placed upon it or is made into a pedestrian area only this proposal is out of the question.

“Despite global warming the next step would be the installation of gas heaters as this climate does not benefit from prolonged warm spells. This would be a further health and safety issue being so close to a busy high street.”

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