The Seaview Restaurant in Saltburn given permission to expand despite concerns over queues

A fish and chip restaurant in Yorkshire has won a battle to extend the premises and also quadruple the number of serving areas for takeaway customers.

Seaview owner Glenn Pearson, who withdrew a previous application which was deemed unacceptable by Redcar and Cleveland Council, said it was an “ambitious, creative, aspiring development for Saltburn”.

It was recently featured on BBC's Remarkable Places To Eat, in which Great British Bake Off winner and former Leeds resident Nadiya Hussain took Fred Siriex to eat at the restaurant on the seafront in Saltburn.Revisions were put forward to the ground floor add-on, which led to it being recommended for approval by planning officers and passed by nine votes to two by the council’s regulatory committee.

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The new design will increase the size of the building by three or four metres at the deepest point and replace an outdoor seating area originally used by customers prior to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Seaview Restaurant often has long queues outside

The intention is to remove the long single queue for the single existing takeaway hatch on the corner of the building that can typically snake across the lower promenade on busy days and instead have four more compact queues being served by four ‘service bays’ replacing the one.

Mr Pearson previously described his desire to create a high-end street food venue serving quality seafood with a later phase of work to include a retractable roof for the upstairs terrace of the restaurant.

He told the committee: “This is not just an extension, it is an ambitious, creative, aspiring development for Saltburn and should be recognised and supported because of the positivity it brings to the resort, providing jobs, showcasing entrepreneurial creativity and economic ambition.

“The extension is not taking up any more of the land on the prom that I am already allowed to do so with the seating I have had out in the past. The land taken up would be dead space, unusable to the public.”

He said the £250,000 extension would be outstanding in design and quality and would also allow takeaway customers to shelter from pouring rain.

Mr Pearson added: “It offers something new and exciting for the visitor, instead of just fish and chips and pasties. We are moving the resort forward and attempting to create the country’s finest seafood experience.”

Councillor Stuart Smith – the committee’s chairman – did not take part in the vote, but spoke on the application as a Saltburn ward councillor.

Coun Smith said he had been contacted by numerous Saltburn residents to express concern about queues which could be made worse by the plans and claimed there was a “toxic mixture” of factors creating conflict among users of the lower promenade.

Coun Smith said: “Recently we have several accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians in this area. We have tried to remedy this situation by moving benches closer to the seawall and by placing sub-markers on the ground indicating to beach hut occupants areas of use to ensure unobstructed pedestrian access.

“A number of actions have been to no avail and the issues of over congestion persist. By granting this application and in doing so reducing the width of the busiest point of the lower prom, the pinch point entrance and exit – and a very busy area – we are creating a danger to users and potential confrontation between them.

“The applicant tries to justify his application by stating it is to deal with the huge queues which form outside his business, but let’s not be fooled here – the sole reason is for commercial purposes.”

Coun Smith said that in the past there had been “ice cream and coffee wars” between the businesses on the promenade and the application continued the poor relationships they had.

He added: “By granting this application we will be setting a precedent for other businesses to eat away at the promenade with similar applications. I have no confidence that the problem of queues will be addressed and it will just add to congestion and residents’ frustrations.”

One objector, who also spoke on the application, said: “This benefits only the one party – the Seaview restaurant, it does not benefit the public or any of the neighbouring businesses down there.

“The proposed reason for this extension is nothing more than a smoke screen for a greedy man to have even more dominance down on the sea side and to hurt other businesses.

“If McDonalds were really busy would you allow them to build an extension to alleviate queues? No you wouldn’t so you shouldn’t do the same thing here.”

Saltburn councillor Craig Hannaway said: “It is a great business, but the issue is the congestion. In my time as a councillor there has never been coherent management of the seafront and that is what is lacking here.

“It’s no fault of the applicant, but he is being let down by the local authority and without that management there is a lot of potential for accidents unfortunately.”

The council’s development services manager Claire Griffiths said in planning terms there was nothing that could be done in terms of controlling queues and said it was an issue for the building owner.

But Coun Philip Thomson, another Saltburn ward member, who was granted permission to speak on the application, said it was down to the council to manage free passage along the promenade.

He said: “Crowds have traditionally blocked access to the lower promenade there and I think this proposal will assist in ameliorating that congestion. This is an investment which reflects the increasing demand for the Seaview offer gained through national recognition and its success should be applauded.

“The proposal does have to be seen on its own merit and it seeks to reduce the current congestion by a factor of four.”

Coun Anne Watts, who voted against the proposal along with Coun Hannaway, said she was more concerned with the visual impact of extending the property which would spoil the street scene.

Coun Cliff Foggo said there was also a problem with queuing on other parts of the lower promenade, including the council’s own cliff tramway.

He said: “At least this applicant has tried to do something about it by increasing the number of servers and also employing a click and collect system which means people just taking stuff away when they come and collect it.”

Coun Malcolm Head said: “The applicant is trying to increase tourism in the area and that’s what we want and he has taken steps to cut the queues. I would support this.”

A report said the extension, which includes two sets of bi-fold doors at the front, was proposed at a wide point on the promenade with more than sufficient space for pedestrians to pass and it would also not hinder emergency vehicles.

It said improvements had been made to the original proposal – these included the addition of glazed panels and a ‘chamfered’ wall on the western side.

The report concluded: “The application is a suitably scaled extension to an existing building which would seek to grow and enhance the visitor and tourism facilities in this part of Saltburn.

“The design has been improved since the submission of the previously withdrawn application and is now considered to be acceptable.”

Members added the condition of a litter management plan with the granting of planning permission.