'Crucial' outdoor dining at Cheltenham's No. 131 restaurant could be over

A blow has been dealt to upmarket Cheltenham hotel, bar and restaurant No.131 after planners refused permission for it to continue to use marquees for outdoor dining.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
No.131 and 133 The Promenade is owned by Superdry fashion founder Julian Dunkerton.

Julian Dunkerton's No. 131 and 133 The Promenade has been dealt a blow after planners refused its application to continue to use temporary dining marquees that it described as crucial to its business.

It was back in August 2022 that the bar, restaurant and hotel business, which falls under The Lucky Onion banner, filed its application to continue to use the ‘pointed hat’ marquees installed to help it through the social distancing rules of the global pandemic.

SF Planning's application for The Lucky Onion appealed to Cheltenham Borough Council for the shelters to remain for two years while the business worked on permanent long-term plans for outdoor dining, stressing the need to continue to support a hospitality sector still recovering from lockdown restrictions.

'The marquees have enabled the business to continue trading at a reasonable level and ensure a degree of viability,’ said the statement.

‘The benefit to the town overall in terms of economic activity and continuing to foster the evening and night-time economy is significant.

'It is thus crucial for the existing marquees to remain whilst a more sensitive and bespoke design is worked up to ensure the overall upkeep of these heritage assets are maintained.'

But the borough council’s planning committee refused the application, stating: ‘The public benefits of the proposals are not considered to outweigh the identified harm to the heritage assets.'

Some 25 comments from members of the public were received in response to the application, some roundly in favour of supporting a business bringing footfall to the town and stressing it as an asset.

An equal number strongly objected on the grounds they consider the marquees to obscure views of the attractive Grade II-listed buildings, with suggestions the owners simply want to continue to capitalise on the extra covers the shelters deliver.

The Lucky Onion was unavailable for comment.

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