Strong support for Chichester’s Priory Park cafe extension

The team from Fenwicks celebrating its opening last year
The team from Fenwicks celebrating its opening last year

A POPULAR cafe is receiving widespread support for its bid to extend.

As reported, Fenwicks Cafe, in Priory Park, Chichester, has submitted an application for a single-storey extension – allowing it to seat an extra 24 people.

Owners Dawn and Rob Bunker will be hoping it is second time lucky after their first bid was thrown out at the start of the year.

Planning officers said it was an ‘overdevelopment’ and would detract from the historic setting.

However, a design and access statement submitted on behalf of Mr and Mrs Bunker said the decision was made without a ‘full consultation’ with the parks manager, supporting groups or council members.

Their second bid has received backing from the Friends of Priory Park, residents and Chichester District Council’s green spaces and street scene manager Andy Howard.

“If public opinion is anything to go by, the work Mr and Mrs Bunker have done in this otherwise overgrown area of the park has improved the setting,” said Mr Howard.

“The entrance to the park is greatly enhanced and customers have the opportunity to sit and appreciate the view of the Guildhall from the patio.”

He said the kiosk had performed ‘beyond expectation’.

Friends chairman Richard Plowman said: “A cafe in the park was the top feature required when park-users were consulted. This extended facility which fits in well with ambience of the park will enable the cafe to open for more days.”

Residents also voiced their support. “The cafe has been very successful and helped to promote the various activities in Priory Park,” said Brian Dean. “It enhances the facilities of the park and does not detract in any way from the ancient Guildhall.”

Mr and Mrs Bunker have applied for a temporary permission – up to 2020 – for a covered extension to the kiosk and a larger patio area, including removal of the current evergreen hedge.

Explaining the reason behind the application, the design and access statement said: “If it rains, the customers either congregate under the serving canopy for shelter, which is extremely limited in space, or they have to leave the site altogether, resulting in the loss of business.”