By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Expansion plans for a Kent bed and breakfast have been approved as Covid restrictions are expected to ease for the UK’s hospitality sector next month.
A proposal submitted by Waves B&B in Birchington to extend its bar area to cover the first floor and balcony was approved by Thanet District Council (TDC) earlier today (April 26). The business overlooks Minnis Bay Promenade.
Owner Steven Hayden says more space is needed for around 100 guests and visitors to provide a “safe” area on the Hengist Road site, ahead of the expected reopening of B&Bs on May 17 across the country.
Mr Hayden, whose business has been shut during the pandemic, told Thanet council’s virtual licensing panel: “We have had a year now with no money and this will turn the Waves into something that is usable in the current climate.”
Concerns were raised by a neighbouring householder about noise and the further expansion of an alcohol-selling business in a residential area.
The balcony would be able to accommodate up to 20 people, but Mr Hayden said more likely 12 until social distancing measures are fully lifted in June. The area is based within 25m to 40m of homes belonging to Birchington residents.
At the panel, Johannes Kramer, who lives in the area, told the committee: “If you give any licence to this it basically means that any house next to another dwelling can be turned into a pub and a bar and I find that worrying.”
Thanet council’s environmental protection officers initially raised concerns about noise nuisance, but were reassured by a commitment from Mr Hayden to create an acoustic barrier to the south of the balcony, near people’s homes.
Currently, the premises is licensed to open outdoors from 8am to 9pm for bed and breakfast guests, with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 10pm.
Responding to the concerns of residents, Mr Hayden said: “We have tried to do our best for the neighbours, including Mr Kramer.
“We have put some extra fencing at the back, moved the garden further forward and moved the bin area. We are constantly on it.”
After deliberation, Thanet council’s licensing committee agreed to pass the application.
Mr Hayden will need to submit a planning application to the local authority to extend his opening hours and install any acoustic barriers.