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Fresh plans unveiled for Beach House Cafe at Mudeford Sandbank

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NEW plans have been submitted for the replacement of the Beach House Café on Mudeford Sandbank.

Having withdrawn its first application for a larger, more modern building in the face of significant opposition from beach hut owners, BCP Council is now proposing a like-for-like rebuild, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The council said this would “preserve” the quality of life for visitors and beach hut users while not attracting increased numbers of people to the area.

The original Beach House Cafe at Mudeford (46595111)
The original Beach House Cafe at Mudeford (46595111)

It has a legal obligation to rebuild the café after the original building had to be demolished following a fire in November 2018.

Since then a temporary set-up has been operating from a series of converted shipping containers and food vans.

Cabinet members first gave their backing to a replacement at the beginning of last year, approving £1m for a “more up-to-date” and larger facility on the sandbank.

But it sparked a backlash from beach hut owners who accused the council of a “betrayal of trust” and called on it to scale back the replacement building to something closer to the original.

They were backed by Highcliffe and Walkford councillor Nigel Brooks who said engagement with beach hut owners had been “inadequate”.

This prompted the council to put its support on hold, with a consultation held from August until October to gauge people’s views.

More than 2,000 responses were submitted, half of which said the proposals would have a “negative impact” and this prompted the council to withdraw its planning application in December.

An artist's impression of plans for the replacement of Mudeford Beach House, which were withdrawn (46595526)
An artist's impression of plans for the replacement of Mudeford Beach House, which were withdrawn (46595526)

Speaking at the time, the cabinet member for tourism, Cllr Mohan Iyengar, said the council would make “substantive progress” on a more agreeable design in the following months.

The council has now applied for permission for a like-for-like replacement to build the café almost exactly as it had been before the fire.

The only changes put forward in its new application would be to raise the height of the building to “mitigate flooding concerns” and to meet building insulation regulations.

Council architects PAD Studio said the changes compared to the original café were “modest” and there would be “no perceivable increase in scale”.

“This is a sustainable development delivering a like-for-like replacement building which will blend in with the overall form and layout of the surroundings and the coastal landscape of Mudeford Sandbank,” said its statement submitted with the planning application.

“Residential amenity of the existing beach hut users will be preserved.”

Seating numbers for café customers and the footprint of the building will be the same as previously.

The council had originally hoped to have the new café built and ready to open in May but the scrapping of the original project and submission of new plans will delay this.

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