Storm brews over al fresco cuppa
6:01am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
AN Ammanford businessman trying to bring "a Continental flavour" to the town says a row that has erupted over his plans for a street cafe is just a storm in an expresso cup.
Deputy-mayor Jonathan Jennings, who runs Cafe Celia with his wife Celia, wants an outdoor seating area for customers on the town's revamped Piazza at the top of the Arcade.
But Cllr Jennings admits he did not envisage "the almighty hoo-hah" that has erupted after council workmen re-sited seating bollards.
Gerald Thomas, chairman of the Chamber of Trade, has written to Director of Technical Services Richard Workman criticising the local authority's decision to rubber-stamp Mr Jennings' plans.
"Considering the previous money spent on the Piazza over the last few years and the fact the county council are in severe financial difficulties I cannot believe that this as been approved," he wrote.
"With the previous work having a detrimental effect to the business community, this will create more problems."
Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Thomas – who runs nearby Arcade News – said: "This really stinks as far as I'm concerned."
Town councillor Emma Thomas also slammed "a lack of openness and transparency". She added: "There's been no consultation and traders are absolutely furious – as head of the town council's planning committee I'd have thought I'd have heard something, but I haven't."
But an exasperated Mr Jennings insisted: "People have got totally the wrong end of the stick.
"I didn't need planning permission, I required a street licence which was granted by the county council.
"I'm just trying to introduce a slightly different flavour to Ammanford – like what you see outside Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Cardiff.
"Sadly, this almighty hoo-hah blew up over the re-siting of seating bollards – you'd have thought we were tunnelling to Australia judging by the fuss some people have made.
"We're just providing tables and chairs for customers to make the most of nice sunny weather – this is all very silly."
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