Seaside cafe plans approved, but landowner refuses
PUBLISHED: 17:04 20 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:29 21 December 2019
A businessman's plans for seafront cafe have been approved, despite the landowner refusing to give consent.
The proposal, by Peter Colby Commercials, could see the development of a single storey cafe, with a play area and public toilets, on open land next to the North Beach car park on Links Road, Lowestoft.
However, despite the plans going before East Suffolk Council's planning committee on December 19, the land is owned by Lowestoft Town Council, who have opposed the development for almost two years, prompting one councillor to ask: "why are we here?"
Town mayor Alice Taylor, representing the town council, said the council had not been consulted by the developer. She said: "The plans came before us in March 2018 and we unanimously agreed to refuse it.
"It is not in the plan for the development of Ness Park and we feel the generic design and style were not appropriate for the unique area. This would affect our fast-disappearing sea view."
The cafe would be built on a former landfill site, although no environmental study had been conducted prior to the proposal to determine whether that land could be made safe.
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"One Gunton Cliff resident said: "Some of us will remember when there was pipework going across the area and the awful smell that came with it."
Councillors also highlighted other cafes in the area, including at Sparrows Nest, although councillor Malcolm Pitchers said: "I know the area very well and used to play there as a child. There used to be an ice cream stall nearby, but there is nothing like that anywhere near it.
"The restaurants nearby are great, but they are not the place to go after a dog walk, so I don't think their closeness matters."
Other councillors welcomed the addition of public toilets in the area. Craig Rivett said: "I think the toilets would be a welcome addition to the area, but there are a few elephants in the room about the landowner and the contamination."
Councillor Norman Brooks said: "We are trying to improve Lowestoft in any way possible. It is a nice area so lets make more of our valuable assets."
Graham Elliott said: "If we say yes, someone else will say no and trump us. It makes me wonder why we are here?"
The plans were approved by seven votes to two.