Alfresco café culture could come to Dereham town centre if an application for tables and chairs outside a popular pub is approved.

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JD Wetherspoon Ltd has applied to Breckland Council to put five tables and 10 chairs outside the front of the business on Church Street between 7am and 11pm.

The application will be debated by Breckland’s Appeals Committee on Wednesday, November 28.

There have been two objections - one from a Church Street resident and the other from Paul Sellick, a Norfolk County Council highways engineer.

Customers of Wetherspoons, which opened in Dereham last April, can currently use the outside area at the back of the pub and hotel.

The resident said: “Our concerns are the noise this will impose on our street. The outside area can often be heard on sunny days and mostly is accepted, but to encourage trade onto the street would cause much more disturbance.

“The pub is a welcome asset to Dereham and has a good trade. There is plenty of room inside, which can be converted if they require extra table space.

“This can only be seen as greed and does not comply with the pubs own notice in the premises, which says, ‘Please leave quietly and think of our neighbours.’”

Mr Sellick said the tables and chairs would “reduce the effective width of this busy footway”.

He added: “I note the control measures and dimensions they are intending, however in practice I feel that the width available to pedestrians would less than shown in the plan with bags/legs hanging out from tables.”

Conditions for the application include the furniture will be removed if a police officer in uniform or traffic warden asks for that to happen, or if there is an emergency and the furniture causes a “substantial and unreasonable obstruction” to the public.

The tables and chairs will be removed outside between 11pm and 7am and any other items, such as space heaters, are not permitted under the consent.

Within the council application report, the proposed operating schedule says CCTV will operate in the area, at least one staff member will work in the area, emergency routes will not be obstructed by the furniture, a clear pedestrian route will be put in place and amplified music will not be allowed under the licence.

Former Dereham mayor Robert Hambidge opened the pub and hotel, which cost £2m to renovate, and was formerly the Phoenix Hotel.

The was re-named the Romany Rye and was named after a novel written by author George Borrow, who was born in Dereham in 1803.

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