Milford eateries allowed to move on to village green
STRUGGLING hospitality businesses will be allowed to install seating and menu boards on Milford village green this summer under plans agreed by the parish council.
The provision of mobile tables and chairs was raised by villager Jon Crouch, who owns the Cave Wine Bar, during an online parish council meeting, ahead of lockdown restrictions easing further.
Also speaking on behalf of The Wash House, Paddle on the Green and La Perle, Mr Crouch said allowing sections of the green to be used for outside table service from Monday was “absolutely critical” to their survival.
Pointing to the success of a similar initiative last summer, Mr Crouch said the vast majority of local people had seen increased use of the green as a “positive thing during tough times” and there had been few complaints about litter.
He said: “Having use of an outside space is key for us after what has been a difficult winter. Even when restrictions begin to lift many of our older customers will have reservations about sitting inside.”
Mr Crouch said the businesses hoped to be able to use the outside seating until the end of the summer season, adding: “This is not about us being greedy, this is about generating enough revenue to see us through the next winter.”
Cllr Sue Whitlock, said that although it was “wonderful” to see the green so well used last year, she hoped the hospitality businesses would continue to play their part in litter picking and keeping the area tidy.
She added it was also important to leave enough space for informal picnicking and gatherings.
Cllr Matt Goode cautioned a time limit should be set on the scheme. He said: “We all want to support our businesses in their recovery – but equally I don’t want to see the green become an extension of the public realm of the catering industry for all time.”
It was suggested that an end date of 1st November should be set for the removal of all extra benches and seating.
A-boards and menu signs could help to create a “continental atmosphere”, said Cllr Patricia Banks, but she added the eight existing memorial benches should continue to be available for anyone to use.
Parish clerk Graham Wells pointed out that the authority was likely to get an “influx of requests” for use of the green, once restrictions eased.
“Many groups pay us to hire the green for large events and that will have to take priority,” he added. “We also have to be willing to offer the same provision to other village hospitality businesses that may approach us when they hear about this.”
It was agreed the parish clerk will liaise with the businesses to agree terms and a maximum number of benches and seats.