U-turn on decking cheered by new Falmouth eatery
The owners of a Falmouth restaurant are celebrating a council climb-down, which means they can rebuild the decking they originally put down outside their property.
Cornwall Council launched an investigation into the newly opened “Fuel” on Arwenack Street last month.
They were concerned that the decked area was taking up part of the public highway and restricted access to neighbouring buildings.
The owners of Fuel, who also own the One Eyed Cat in Truro, removed the decking while the investigation was underway.
Council officers have now admitted they were wrong to question the installation of the decking after the owners produced photographic evidence showing the building as it was in 1998 - with an extension on the front.
Ben Dickinson, from Cornwall Council’s highways department, said: “I concede that the planning file relating to the property clearly shows that the area has not been open to uninterrupted free public access without hindrance for 20 years, which is a standard term to indicate highway right accrual.
"It would appear there is a disproportionately small minority of people who are against our efforts to try and create a successful business in Falmouth."Brett Holmes and David Graham, owners of the newly-opened restaurant - "Fuel".
“I am happy therefore to concede that although the highway authority has maintained and swept area, the area has not been open long enough for highway rights to have accrued.”
Not only does this mean that the decking can now be rebuilt, but the cast iron bollards between the building and the footpath will also be removed by the council, Mr Dickinson said, as they “obstruct the narrow footway outside the property.”
In a joint statement, the directors of the company that owns Fuel – David Graham and Brett Holmes – said they were frustrated at how long it had taken to resolve the issue.
They said: "We have spent a great deal of time, effort and not to mention our own money in locating this new venture in Falmouth - completely refurbishing this commercial premises that had lain empty for some 14 months before we arrived.
“During the development we have used local tradesmen and businesses and have now created both full and part time positions employing local people.
“However it would appear there is a disproportionately small minority of people who are against our efforts to try and create an enhanced area and successful business in Falmouth.”
Concerns were also raised by the owners over how the investigation was handled and they have spoken out against the involvement of town councillor Diana Merrett.