During a walkabout in the city centre with the Winchester Business Improvement District (BiD), Steve Brine stopped by Greens Wine Bar to understand the ongoing dispute regarding their outdoor seating.
Overdraft and Greens, on Jewry Street, have for the past few years made use of the pavement outside their premises for outdoor tables, but a letter to the Hampshire Chronicle has sparked bemusement among the owners of Greens.
Peter Neave said : “My wife and I with our family opened Greens in 1989, we have been providing hospitality and employment at this site for the city of Winchester for 35 years.
“Our tables and chairs are licensed by Winchester city council. The process is applied for annually, and paid for by the business to the council and a notice is placed in our window for 28 days every year to give the community the opportunity to raise any objections before the licence is granted.
“In this increasingly challenging economic time, we need support more than ever.”
Off the back of his visit to Greens the Member of Parliament for Winchester and Chandler's Ford added : "I was contacted by the, frankly bemused, team at Greens last week and was saddened someone was stirring up trouble for them. They’ve had these, much used and enjoyed, outdoor tables for years and they tell me they have every necessary licence in place. If the council wish to review that they can of course do so.
“I visited Greens to have a look and subsequently met with Winchester BID who are liaising with them and Overdraft next door to make sure everyone is supported.
“At the end of the day, the response from customers rather says it all. We should remember that one letter, and the muck raking involvement of the Daily Mail, doesn’t create a problem where none exists.”
A Winchester City Council spokesperson said: “Any business that sells, or proposes to sell, food or drink can apply for permission to place furniture on a highway. We work with businesses to ensure that necessary criteria are met including access for pedestrians, wheelchair users and pushchairs. Hampshire Highways as landowner is also consulted as part of this. Permissions are reviewed annually. Hospitality businesses were particularly hard hit during the pandemic, and we always seek to balance the benefits for the businesses with public access.”