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Plans for 'two-storey party club' cafe on Mudeford Spit withdrawn amid raft of opposition

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

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to replace the Beach House Cafe on Mudeford Spit will be withdrawn after more than half of respondents to a consultation were opposed to it – with one branding it a “two-storey party club”.

Others claimed the new £1m bar and restaurant will “completely ruin a very special place” by attracting crowds of day-trippers who will drink alcohol until late, causing anti-social behaviour.

The original one-storey Beach House burnt down during a fire in November 2018. Earlier this year BCP Council revealed the building it planned to replace it. Designs show a modern, bigger building with an upper level to be used as office and storage space.

It caused an outcry among many residents and owners of the spit’s beach huts, which can cost over £300,000. BCP Council decided to defer a decision until a public consultation had been held.

Now it has revealed the results which show that 51% of those who gave their feedback are against it. There were 2,063 responses to a wide range of questions, with beach hut owners being the “most strongly opposed”, according to the council.

It said it would now withdraw the planning application in early January and a “reinvigorated approach” launched.

Cllr Mohan Iyengar, cabinet member for tourism, leisure and culture, said: “A solution needs to be found for the Beach House Café – something that fits the locality nicely and has support.

“I thank everyone who has given their views in the survey and in earlier discussions. We look forward to making substantive progress in the new year.”

The original Beach House burnt down during a fire in November 2018
The original Beach House burnt down during a fire in November 2018

The consultation also revealed that out of 354 beach hut owners, around 260 are not from the BCP Council area.

One hut owner canvassed said: “It’s doesn’t seem to cater for the older hutties or those with young families. It seems that the priority is attracting more day-trippers that crowd the beaches, leave litter and create too much noise in our quiet haven.”

More than 54% of beach hut owners felt the new restaurant would have a detrimental impact, with one claiming: “The intended purpose of this facility was originally to cater to hut owner’s needs. This proposal is clearly designed to attract everyone but hut owners.”

Other people consulted said they were concerned about what effect the building would have on the environment.

Some people pointed out that a temporary building opened this summer on the site of the burnt down café had already caused problems and they believed the new one would cause similar issues.

The new restaurant will be run by existing tenant Kit Slater who ran the Beach House for the last 16 years. He has said he just “wants to see it reopen as soon as possible”.

BCP Council has said that the new café would be open until 11.30pm on some evenings which was criticised by respondents who claimed it would lead to drunkenness and noise nuisance.

There were some people in favour of the new building, with one saying: “This beautiful space is not just for hut owners. It is a public amenity, not a private beach for rich out-of-towners.”

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