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City centre restaurant is denied in bid to bring in outdoor seating option

PUBLISHED: 17:07 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:34 18 September 2018

The Iron House on St John Maddermarket Photo : Julia Holland

The Iron House on St John Maddermarket Photo : Julia Holland

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A restaurant in the Norwich Lanes has been denied the opportunity to provide outdoor seating to its diners.

The Iron House restaurant, which has failed in a bid to install tables and chairs outside. Picture: Andy DarnellThe Iron House restaurant, which has failed in a bid to install tables and chairs outside. Picture: Andy Darnell

The Iron House, which sits on the corner of St John Maddermarket and Lobster Lane had applied to install six tables outside.

However, after Norwich City Council transport bosses raised concerns that the pavement was not wide enough, the application was turned down.

The decision, which was unanimous, came to the disappointment of the restaurant’s owner Jeremy King, who argued the provision would help his business complete in the summer months.

He said: “All small businesses try our best in what can be a very difficult industry and one which is vital to the city centre.

Jeremy King, owner of the Iron House in Norwich. Photo: Julia HollandJeremy King, owner of the Iron House in Norwich. Photo: Julia Holland

“While this is not the difference between make or break, we do see a significant reduction in trade during warmer weather as we are unable to offer the same outdoor dining experience other places do.

“I have 20 members of staff with wages to pay so I have to do the best I can to help us through the summer months.”

Mr King’s application had sought to add tables and chairs along its St John Maddermarket wall alone, with no seating proposed for the much narrower Lobster Lane.

However, after Kieran Yates, the city council’s transport planner, objected to the plans, members of City Hall’s regulatory committee voted the proposals down.

Mr Yates said: “It is part of the highways and therefore it is in the public’s interest.”

Mr Yates said he was not confident pedestrians - particularly those with mobility issues - would be able to safely use the street if the tables were in place.

He was also concerned about articulated lorries using the road for deliveries.

To remedy this, Mr King had proposed the seating only be in place after 12pm, with the majority of deliveries being made before this time.

However, the application was refused amid the safety concerns.

Mr King said: “I am not angry with the council, we made an application which was refused - such is life.

“It would have been nice but we have to accept the decision.”

Bollards installed in 2015

Three years ago, the restaurant became a talking point for a different reason - but again passing vehicles were a point of discussion.

In 2015, Mr King went to the city council in hopes of securing protective bollards along St John Maddermarket, after seeing large, articulated lorries getting too close to the building’s top storeys for comfort.

When an existing bollard was damaged in a collision, Mr King campaigned for it to be replaced, and for extras to be installed.

He was successful in securing the bollards, which remain in place today.

Mr King, who has owned the restaurant since 2010, said: “In the eight years I have been at the restaurant I can’t recall a single serious collision. The bollards have certainly done their job.

“I feel the Lanes have a pedestrianised feel and people far more aware of the vehicles that do use the area.”

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