Three more city restaurants to discover fate of outdoor seating plans

PUBLISHED: 07:49 08 July 2019

The Last wine bar and restaurant. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Last wine bar and restaurant. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Three more city restaurants will discover on Monday whether they can provide outdoor seating - amid concerns over accessibility.

Haggle and The Last Wine Bar have applied for outside seating. Photo: ArchantHaggle and The Last Wine Bar have applied for outside seating. Photo: Archant

Norwich City Council will mull over bids for street side seating from the Last Wine Bar, Café Club and Haggle on Monday, in the latest of a string of bars and restaurants looking to provide the al fresco experience.

However, the bids come amid worries at how the ever-growing number of outdoor seats will impact on pedestrians in the city - particularly those with visual impairments and disabilities.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has lodged objections against all three applications, while concerns have also been raised by the Norwich Access Group.

Michael Wordingham, campaigns officer for RNIB in the East and a trustee of the access group, said: "The difficulty is while we really want local restaurants to thrive, pavement seating can often make it tough for people to get around - particularly those with disabilities.

"The application from Haggle is a particularly problematic one as the pavement [on St Benedict's Street] itself is already fairly narrow."

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Mr Wordingham said guide dogs were trained to be reluctant to pass through narrow gaps and that in this circumstance they would instead lead people into the road.

He added in the case of the Last Wine Bar, on St George's Street, as the street is shared between cyclists and pedestrians it could limit safe spaces for pedestrians.

He added: "Generally, blind people tend to use the building line as their guide to steer clear of cyclists, which this could create difficulty with.

"On the whole, providing there is enough space for pedestrians and cyclists we have no problem, however, it is important it can be made to work for everybody."

Haggle's application is for six seats on St Benedict's Street, the Last Wine Bar seeks seating for 32 across eight tables while Café Club, on King Street, hopes to seat eight outside its premises.

Norwich City Council's regulatory sub-committee will decide all three applications on Monday, July 8.

Last month, the city council agreed to grant the Murderer's on Timberhill permission for a new seating area close to Red Lion Street.

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