Bid to open 'pavement cafe' in town centre

St Helens town hall
St Helens town hall
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Plans have been submitted to create a “pavement café” in St Helens town centre.

The application seeks approval for the change of use from a public highway to a pavement café, spanning the width of 18-22 Ormskirk Street.

Supporting documents provided with the application says the aim of the café is to attract customers during the day to The Secret Garden and The Church, both on Ormskirk Street.

The applicant, Ian Pitts, launched The Secret Garden gin bar, next door to the Imperial Terrace and Bar – which he also owns – last December.

This came hot on the heels of the launch of The Church, an underground German beer and rum bar, in Imperial Terrace’s basement.
“The pavement café aims to attract customers during the day time so patrons to Secret Garden and The Church, predominantly, can sit outside during the nice weather, helping to increase the town centre foot fall during the day and early evenings,” the statement says.
The proposals are or the café to be 17m maximum width, and 2.5m deep.
It says the seating area will be bordered using red rope with chrome posts.
“The proposals include approximately six tables, each one having six chairs,” the statement says.
“The tables and chairs will be stored inside the building, in the storage area to the rear, when closed. The pavement café aims to attract customers during the day time and early evening.
“At around 2.5m deep, the depth of the paved walking area is around 3.5m, wider than some of the general pavements to the town centre and considered acceptable for the extent proposed. “
While the application is still to be decided, the council’s Highways department have raised an objection to the proposals.
Dave Whittleston, senior transport officer, said the café would impede pedestrian movement to the “possible detriment of highway and pedestrian safety”.
He said: “Whilst the site is located within a pedestrian zone, and the footway is relatively wide, there are concerns about the need to locate the proposed seating area in close proximity to the carriageway, where there are high frequency bus services throughout the day.
“Buses travelling in close proximity to customers.
“Furthermore, given the need to locate the seating away from the face of the building, this effectively creates a tunnelling effect, through a much-reduced footway width, with an extremely high volume of pedestrian activity.”
Kenny Lomas , Local Democracy Reporting Service