Lytham restaurant boss’s anger as canopy appeal is rejected

The Olive Tree restaurant in Lytham
The Olive Tree restaurant in Lytham
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A popular Mediterranean-themed restaurant which re-located last year from St Annes to a prime spot in Lytham has lost its appeal over an outdoor canopied terrace structure for diners.

The Olive Tree, based in the former NatWest bank on Dicconson Terrace, is the third eaterie in nine months to fall foul of Fylde Council guidelines over the use of outdoor structures used to create extra dining space, in Lytham’s conservation area.

In the latest case, Fylde planners rejected the Olive Tree’s application as councillors felt the  proposed design was detrimental and harmful to the appearance of the attractive bank building and vibrant Clifton Square.

Restaurant owner Dean Wilson appealed to the Planning Inspectorate over that decision, but the appeal has been dismissed.

Mr Wilson has now blasted Fylde for rejecting the plans.

He said: “They have these sort of canopies all over the country, even in very select areas.

“But Fylde Council just doesn’t seem to get it, it’s so frustrating.

“The Olive Tree is a real asset to the area, I have invested half a million in this project in Lytham, but without the canopy I will lose trade.”

Planning inspector David Fitzsimon noted that the canopy design at the Olive Tree was a more solid structure than what was there previously, with a powder coated aluminium framed canopy and a lean-to with a predominantly glazed roof.

He stated: “The proposed structure would dominate the front elevation of the building and would obstruct some of the architectural detailing at ground floor level, including the arched section of its attractive windows.

“This would be regrettable.

“The Appellant Company (The Olive Tree) points to the fact that the structure increases the capacity of the brasserie and provides an ‘al fresco’ dining experience, even in inclement weather.

“It also provides access for people with disabilities.

“Nevertheless, nothing I have seen or read convinces me that a more sympathetic scheme could not deliver similar benefits.”

In two previous incidences, both The Deacon and Spago eateries, also on Dicconson Terrace,  ran into planning setbacks with similar structures, losing their appeals as well.

In their cases, both were required to make amendments after the canopied additions were deemed to be in breach of planning permission.

Coun Trevor Fiddler, chairman of Fylde Council’s planning committee, said: “The canopy and extension at other restaurants in the area are also unauthorised and subject of on-going enforcement action from the council to ensure compliance with the schemes approved at those premises.

“The council is keen to support the town centre businesses and allow them to provide outdoor dining arrangements, but this has to be in a way that does not detract from the pleasant character of Lytham and the buildings that they trade from.

“The current situation is not achieving that balance and the council is treating all businesses in the town fairly in ensuring that the premises implement their authorised arrangements.”