Birdham café given permission to stay

Scuttlebutt Cafe in Birdham
Scuttlebutt Cafe in Birdham

A tiny café looking out on to Birdham Pool has been given retrospective planning permission by Chichester District Council.

The Scuttlebutt Café, in The Causeway, opened more than a year ago on a 19sqm patch of land which had been used to store boats.

Little more than a hut on wheels and a roped off area of seating, it has been serving berth holders at the marina, as well as passing trade, from early morning until late at night.

The council received more than 20 letters supporting the café, saying it was unobtrusive, looked nicer than before, and provided a ‘much-needed pit stop for walkers, cyclists and visitors in general’.

Eleven letters objected to the change, with concerns about development in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the lack of toilets, and the loss of boat storage space.

Members of the planning committee approved the application to change the use of the land, rejecting suggestions that the cafe should only be allowed to open between April and August.

They set a condition that the opening hours should be 8am-8pm every day.

Given the site’s previous use for boat storage, they didn’t agree that the café would affect the AONB.

Sarah Sharp (Green, Chichester South) said: “It wasn’t as if this has gone on a space which was beautiful trees. This was a little edge of a boat storage yard, it was already brownfield.

“The community of Birdham and the community that is travelling through could benefit from this, and do benefit from this, and I think it would be sad if we took it away from them.”