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Residents Triumph in Outdoor Dining Dispute

In an important decision for city-dwellers, residents of an exclusive London square have triumphed in their High Court fight to overturn a planning permission which enabled a local restaurant to lay on outside meals for is customers.

Attempts by the restaurant’s owner to expand onto the pavement had met with fierce opposition from inhabitants of the residential area on noise disturbance grounds. Previous planning applications had been refused by the local authority, but the owner ultimately succeeded in obtaining permission to provide up to 30 outdoor covers between the hours of 9am and 8pm each day.

Prior to the grant of permanent permission, the restaurant had been allowed to provide outdoor seating for a 12-month trial period. During that time, the Council had received complaints that more than 30 covers had been provided out of doors and that diners had been seated outside the area permitted.

In overturning the permanent consent, and directing the Council to reconsider the matter, the Court found that the officer who granted it had failed to take those complaints into account. It could not be said that his decision would necessarily have been the same if he had had regard to what was a relevant consideration.