Conservationists have objected to plans to replace a popular seafront café on the Brighton and Hove prom with an all-weather replacement.
The owners of the Meeting Place Café, in King’s Esplanade, Hove, want to replace their current kiosk with a building with indoor seating.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee is expected to give its verdict on the scheme at a meeting next week.
Officials have given their backing but the council’s Conservation Advisory Group is less keen on the changes at the site by the Peace Statue, which straddles the border of Brighton and Hove.
The group has objected because the new building would have a bigger “footprint” and would “extend significantly on the western side”, according to a report.
The group also said that the proposed café would be a dominant addition that would compromise views of the Peace Statue, set an inappropriate precedent and breach an 1830 Act of Parliament.
The original plans for a two-storey building were revised after feedback and the proposal now going before councillors is for a single-storey café.
The café’s owners, Hikmet Tabak, 62, and Bulent Ekinci, 48, dropped a design that included a roof terrace and they have halved the size of the floor space to 211 square metres.
The revised design would enable them to serve 64 “covers” or seated customers rather than the 124 covers catered for by the initial proposal.
Currently, the café has no internal seating. The kiosk occupies about 70 square metres, with a serving hatch and outdoor seating only.
A report to councillors said that the café was next to the grade II listed Edward VII Memorial, known locally as the Peace Statue, and close to other listed buildings including the bandstand and the grade I listed Regency terraces.
The Meeting Place Café is in the Regency Square Conservation Area and the outdoor seating is in the Brunswick Town Conservation area.
In a statement prepared by the owner’s agent, Lewis and Co Planning, the applicants said: “To preserve the important character of the conservation area, the proposed café would be single storey in height so as not obstruct the sweeping views along the seafront and towards the Regency terraces and squares.
“As the proposal would replace the existing, somewhat dated and tired-looking café, it is considered that there would be a neutral impact on the setting.
“Although the footprint would be larger, the proposed replacement building has been designed with simple clean lines and finished in a muted colour palette to reduce the potential for it to compete visually with the Edward VII Memorial, the setting of which provides for clear views of the statue against expansive skies and the sea.”
The planning portal on the council’s website included more than 20 objections and six supporting comments.
It included the Conservation Advisory Group’s objection which said: “This is an inappropriate building in a conservation area and would spoil the views, south, east, and west.
“There is a lack of any attempt at seaside vernacular and a lack of fully external seating which is one of the principal attractions of seaside eating.
“This is overdevelopment and would be a dominant addition to the seafront affecting the two conservation areas of Brunswick Town and Regency Square and other heritage assets.”
The council’s seafront development manager Toni Manuel backed the plans, saying: “We are very supportive of this application which we believe will greatly improve the appearance of this property and enhance the hospitality offer for residents and visitors to the seafront.
“The mix of indoor and outdoor space is encouraged and aligns with the council’s strategy which seeks to promote the seafront as an all-year-round destination.”
The council’s Planning Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 11am on Wednesday 7 June. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.