'Pull down pub shelter' anger

PUBLISHED: 19:43 21 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:25 17 June 2010

AN Otterton landlord has hit out at East Devon District Council after they said a portable structure outside his pub needs planning permission. Mike Hext, owner of the Kings Arms, had the gazebo like structure installed in May on the premise that it was c

AN Otterton landlord has hit out at East Devon District Council after they said a portable structure outside his pub needs planning permission.

Mike Hext, owner of the Kings Arms, had the gazebo like structure installed in May on the premise that it was classed as a portable structure and did not need planning permission.

But only days later a planning officer from EDDC told him that permission was needed.

Mike said: "We originally had brewery umbrellas outside but we decided to put up a shelter as we get a lot of trade from people who are walking their dogs and don't want to come inside because they are muddy.

"With 30 pubs closing a week and the smoking ban stopping people from coming inside businesses are really struggling."

The planning officer said that because the gazebo was built onto the ground it was not classed as a portable structure.

Mike added: "We've tried everything to stop it from being taken down and even installed metal feet onto the structure so it wasn't secured onto the ground."

Despite their best efforts they were told that it was still unsuitable and must be taken down.

Mike said: "It's not like we have a monster in the middle of the village. We've had nothing but compliments about the structure."

A spokesman for Fusion Shelters, who supplied the gazebo, said: "We have installed about 750 to 900 of these structures, mostly to schools, and they never have to apply for planning permission.

"I can't get my head around why they say permission is needed for this one."

A spokesman for East Devon District Council said: "In the opinion of our Senior Planning Officer, this structure, due to its size and permanence, is not appropriate on the site where it is currently located and would therefore be unlikely to be granted planning permission.

"The owners have been advised that it might be acceptable if it were sited in a less conspicuous position, given that the pub stands in a Conservation Area and within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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