Planning discussion: BERWICK ST FROM BROADWICK ST TO PETER STREET
Since the street has been repaved there is no clear strategy for its use after the market has closed. Last month we objected to tables and chairs applications which would have obstructed that part of the street on the East side which is still delineated as pavement because car park along the West side taking up half the carriageway and the remaining part is theoretically open for vehicles to pass.
Vehicle access is north to south. There are bollards at the north end which should be lifted out in the evening (7.30am-7am) but I understand these are not used. There is a 24/7 need to ensure that emergency vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances can access the street although it is not clear what would happen when the market is open and the stalls prevent such access. (A definitive explanation would be good.)
Clearly objecting to these tables and chairs applications has annoyed restaurant and café owners who see cheaply rented food stalls at lunch time eating into their trade and an empty street in front of them in the evening. Some refer to pedestrianised streets like Kingly Street which have generous provision for T&Cs.
Kingly Street is perhaps unique in that all the T&Cs are located on the east side leaving the west for pedestrians and emergency vehicles. There is no parking allowed on that street. It is also actively managed by Shaftesbury.
In the case of Berwick Street although most businesses wanting T&Cs are on the east side at least Duck and Rice and possible once the Kemp House development some of the businesses may be either A1 coffee shops or even A3 and want T&Cs on the west side. (although generally the west side already has a much wider pavement.
One option would be to request WCC that the west side of Berwick Street is made double yellow lines to prevent parking and that this side of the street could be used for pedestrians and emergency vehicles and that a notional line (to be agreed) could be drawn on the east die to allow sufficient space additional tables and chairs.
However, unlike Kingly Street there are also many residents living on Berwick Street and close to it and the high rise Kemp House flats. There would be noise and possibly nuisance implications for these residents. The noise level has been significant especially in the summer, due to lack of effective enforcement. This is noise which did not exist previously – except for a period when the Endurance operated in a way which a licence review and eventually the courts judged to be unacceptable.
What is the balance to be struck? I think we need to agree a policy which we think is fair and sensible and can be explained to the various stakeholders. It doesn’t mean that whatever we suggest will be adopted by Westminster.