Shoppers blast restaurant for blocking pavement after ‘stupid’ dining area leaves just ‘3ft gap’ for them to walk through – but who is in the right?

Shoppers blast restaurant for blocking pavement after ‘stupid’ dining area leaves just ‘3ft gap’ for them to walk through – but who is in the right?

  • Greens Bar and Kitchen in the centre of Winchester has its outdoor seating overflowing onto the pavement 
  • Controversy was sparked when former magistrate Stephen Percy complained 

Shoppers have blasted a restaurant in an historic cathedral city for blocking pavement after its ‘stupid’ alfresco dining area leaves only a ‘3ft gap’ for them to walk through.

Greens Bar and Kitchen in the centre of Winchester, Hants, has allowed its outdoor seating to overflow onto the pavement, leaving only a small pathway for prams and mobility scooters to fit. 

The decision has divided opinion, with some insisting it doesn’t need to be there during the winter months as no one sits outside and it is a ‘bloody eyesore’, while others think it just requires diners being ‘polite’ and leaving room. 

The controversy was sparked when former magistrate Stephen Percy objected online to the family-run restaurants pavement table and chairs. 

Mr Percy, 76, who is from the city, said: ‘They are either side of the thoroughfare and the narrowest point is only three feet wide.’

Judy Franklin, 61, on Jewry Street, Winchester

‘It was quite busy and there’s traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing next to it, so there is quite a lot of footfall. 

‘I just thought, ‘this is stupid, who designed this? Do they have permission? It’s a bit of a bee in my bonnet. 

‘If you know Winchester, it’s a nice pedestrianised high street, but it’s often full up with tables and market stalls that make for obstacles you have to get around. 

‘In this instance I just thought it went too far.’ 

The former parish councillor added: ‘The thought occurred to me would wheelchairs navigate this gap? I think they may be in difficulty. 

‘It’s a bloody eyesore, isn’t it? It’s just about freezing at the moment and you are right next to a set of traffic lights – who is going to want to sit out there? 

‘I can see the argument to have some but I think they’ve gone too far. 

‘I don’t think they should be in two different positions outside Greens.’ 

Judy Franklin, 61, who was pushing her granddaughter in a pram, agreed and said the gap would be even smaller if people were actually using the chairs. 

‘But it doesn’t need to be there in winter,’ she said. ‘They shouldn’t be doing it or have them out, just have one table with a rope like they do at Wetherspoons. 

‘You need more space, especially if people have a mobility scooter or a double buggy.’ 

Fulltime nanny, Lisa Cronin, 51, was seen pushing a double buggy and avoiding the narrow gap past the restaurant.

‘It just makes it harder when it’s busy,’ she said. 

‘Especially with people sitting there and is congested anyway as it’s by the crossing.’

She admitted it ‘wasn’t the easiest’ place to go in and out of and doesn’t travel that way as a result. 

The controversy was sparked when former magistrate Stephen Percy objected online to the independent restaurants pavement furniture

However, 85 year old Glenys Gray was unperturbed by the seating, as long as diners were considerate. 

‘It doesn’t really bother me,’ she said. ‘Provided there is enough space for people to go through, I can’t really see it’s a problem. 

‘The only thing is, it is down to people who are sat there to be away from other people or prams, so I think it’s a Catch 22. 

‘So sit as long as people using the chairs are polite and aware of what’s going on.’ She said outside dining is now happening ‘all around’ the city, but thinks it’s a welcome addition. 

‘It seems to make it a nicer place to visit,’ she added. 

Mother Lucy Isgar, 27, was pushing her pram and didn’t mind the idea. 

‘I agree in this time of year it’s a bit pointless, but in simmer it’s nice,’ she said.

‘That’s one of the nice things about Winchester, especially in the square, is people sitting outside.’ 

She admitted that while it was ‘not that big of deal’ for mothers like her who can walk around and cross over if needs be, it may pose a bigger issue for disabled people.

Greens Bar & Kitchen is a popular destination in the city offering brunch, lunch and Sunday roasts. 

‘We are a family-run independent business in the heart of Winchester’s city centre,’ the website says. 

‘Founded in 1989 we have become a local institution who prides itself on doing simple things well and always putting our guests first.’ 

Winchester City Council said the restaurant had been given a permit for the outdoor seating. 

A council spokesperson said: ‘Any business that sells, or proposes to sell, food or drink can apply for permission to place furniture on a highway. 

‘We work with businesses to ensure that necessary criteria are met including access for pedestrians, wheelchair users and pushchairs. Hampshire Highways as landowner is also consulted as part of this. 

‘Permissions are reviewed annually. Hospitality businesses were particularly hard hit during the pandemic, and we always seek to balance the benefits for the businesses with public access. We can confirm that Greens has an up-to-date and valid permit.’

Greens has been approached for comment.

Lettice Bromovsky

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