Restaurant told planning permission is needed for dining pods
- Credit: Ian Burt
A restaurant has been told planning permission is needed for outside dining pods installed when it reopened after the coronavirus lockdown.
The Barn Restaurant, in Terrington St John, near Wisbech installed five pods in its beer garden to keep within the government’s Covid-19 measures.
But planners at West Norfolk Council said planning permission was required for the area’s change of use, and the restaurant has now entered a retrospective planning application.
“We were requested to submit a full planning application for the change of use of the land to include outdoor seating pods,” the application by Joshua Green, the restaurant’s owner, said.
The pods have a clear lattice structure and form a dome which can be placed over an eating or drinking area for customers to enjoy socialising in a safe space.
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They are also air-conditioned and can be heated.
The application form said work to install the pods began on June 1 2020 and took just over a week to complete.
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Mr Green revealed to the press that the structures cost £12,000.
He was inspired to use them after seeing similar dining areas used in America and along London’s Embankment at Christmas.
When The Barn Restaurant reopened in July, customers praised the new structures which accommodate up to six people.
Guests were asked to use hand sanitiser when entering and exiting the pods which are chemically cleaned after each use.
Waiting staff were also leaving food on a table outside the pods to be collected if that’s what diners preferred.
At the time, Mr Green said weekends were booked up until September.
They are very, very booked, up,” he said. “It’s gone a bit crazy.”
The restaurant, located in School Road, used to be able to accommodate 100 covers inside but this has been more than halved to allow for adequate social distancing.
West Norfolk Planners had also requested a flood risk assessment, but it was decided this was not necessary because the pods are not overnight sleeping accommodation.
The retrospective planning application was verified by West Norfolk Council on September 14.
Members of the public have until October 12 to comment on the plans.