BCP Council (Bournemouth): Matt is pleased to confirm that planning permission has been achieved just in time for the summer season for the installation of decking and planters providing outdoor seating area in Bournemouth Square. The scheme was designed by Footprint Architects for Bobby’s Parlour.

An external seating area and planters had already been approved, however this was only for chairs, tables and barriers in a higgledy-piggledy arrangement which were put out every day and removed each evening, they weren’t very private as it allowed people to walk between them and the ground was uneven and subject to puddles.

The urban design officer amazingly raised concerns, considering that the proposed timber decked seating area would be visually intrusive and create a permanent arrangement which would add unnecessary clutter to the street scene. Following some amendments the planning officer disagreed and deemed that because the decking was contained in the area formerly under the canopy and there was plenty of space around it, he considered that the proposal was acceptable and whilst he acknowledged that the proposal will intrude into the openness of the approach to the Square and the well designed public space, the structure with its greenery will add to the richness of the precinct area and this overall will benefit the economy and amenity of the town centre.

The provision of alfresco outdoor dining adds to the character of the Square especially on the outskirts here where it would bring life to the town centre. The proposed design includes timber planters and will provide a better quality feature than the existing arrangement in arriving at his favourable recommendation the officer concluded; “Overall, I now consider that the better quality design and greenery will be a positive for the local area. There is already an open café are in front of the Cafe Obscura and this will add to the character of the space by providing a lively and useable café space providing an actively whilst not restricting the movement of pedestrians to a significant degree”.