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Angry protesters launch campaign against plans for £1m Mudeford cafe

Designs for the proposed new beach cafe at Mudeford
Designs for the proposed new beach cafe at Mudeford

A ROW HAS broken out over plans to rebuild the Beach House café at Mudeford Sandbank with some objectors claiming it will “completely ruin” the idyllic location.

BCP Council has launched a public consultation over proposals to replace the original restaurant and shop – which burned down in November 2018 – with a £1.06m contemporary-style eatery.

It will occupy the same footprint as the old one but be taller – which has sparked complaints from owners of the £300,000-plus beach huts nearby who claim it will “dominate” the area and will be a “total blot on the landscape”.

Now they have been joined by local residents who have launched a campaign to stop the plans being passed and set up a Save Mudeford Sandbank website.

They claim if BCP Council gets its way it will “threaten the head, harbour and sandbank as a place of tranquillity”, and generate noise, rubbish, traffic and anti-social behaviour.

The plans for the new Beach House were unveiled earlier this year but a decision was postponed after claims there had not been adequate public consultation.

At the time, the application attracted 230 objections and just two comments in favour. Now the council says people have until 5th October to make their opinions known.

The new plans are higher than before with a loft-style roof to provide office accommodation and storage. The council denied claims made in national papers last week that the new café will be two storeys high saying that “inaccurate images and drawings have been circulated by a third party”.

It has released images drawn up by the official architects of the project, PAD studio, which show an open-plan, modern café with the roof at both ends being more elevated.

The council says this will not be used for “upper floor dining” and that the new roof “reflects and is in keeping with the profile of all the surrounding huts” and it is “in harmony with the overall look and feel of the site”.

Funding for the rebuild will include a £300,000 insurance payout and the rest will be in the form of a loan paid over 25 years at £50,000 per annum.

The council says the money will be generated by the increased income that “such a facility will bring to the site”.

Council leader Cllr Vikki Slade said: “Proposals are for a modern, airy design, in keeping with this beautiful and unique beach location.

“We also want to prioritise affordable, innovative, sustainable technologies and practices in line with our aspirations to address the global climate-change emergency.”

Objectors claim that servicing a larger café will increase the number of cars and trucks driving down the one-mile access track putting people's safety in danger.

They also say that the new building will impact the sewerage service at the area as all of it is pumped by a single pipe from the sandbank. Similarly, they say waste removal will struggle to cope and that wildlife habitats will be disturbed.

The Mudeford Sandbank Beach Hut Association is also resisting the new café plans. Members say they should have a say as they pay £4,500 a year in rates and the 360 huts have a combined value of over £100m.

Steve Barratt, chair of the group, said: “The proposal for the Beach House cafe is a betrayal of the trust placed in the council.

“It will have a negative effect on hut owners and result in a building that would dominate the landscape for miles and destroy the openness of the site in an environmentally sensitive area.”

To comment on the plans visit www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/beachhouseconsultation

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