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22/0589/FUL | Installation of glass screens and parasols for external seating area (retrospective). | Venezia Exeter 61 Waterside Exeter Devon EX2 8GY
  • Total Consulted: 27
  • Comments Received: 7
  • Objections: 1
  • Supporting: 6

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Mr Andy Dursley (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Mon 06 Jun 2022

I am a supplier of Bar Venezia in Exeter.

Following a business meeting with Mr Awad last week I asked for details of who I could speak to about his current predicament with obtaining planning permission for his outdoor seating area.

I've known Mr Awad for a number of years and supply to his business 6 days a week.
I've seen his business grow in the last few years, partcularly through Covid where he has been providing the local community (and tourists) with good food and drink and a safe space to enjoy the lovely Exeter Quay.

At the start of Covid, Mr Awad was providing a very limited takeaway offer in line with Government guidelines, when other businesses shut up shop.
That's a big credit to his sense of community and innovation and effort.
I myself used to cycle to the Quay and have a coffee in my 'exercise time' each day.

I can see that Mr Awad has made all sorts of efforts in recent years to provide outdoor seating rain and shine, and installed umbrellas and screening which didn't meet council approval, but when I look at other business across the water such as 'On The Waterfront' and 'The Prospect Inn' who have introduced similar schemes in front of listed buildings I ask myself why there is this discrimination to his business?

The Rockfish restaurant opposite has interrupted the view of the Quay in a much bigger way, but I don't recall any objections being raised when this building was erected?

I can see that Mr Awad has taken steps to remove glass doors, remove signage, lower the height of the panels, but it feels like nothing is enough.

I'd really like to see common-sense prevail, as everyone I speak to in the area really doesn't seem to have any objections to the screening being present.

Mr Awad has been on that site for over 20 years and built a very successful (and popular) business.
I'm hoping he can continue to trade with the existing screening in place, and that his application will be passed quickly, so he can get on with the business of serving the general public.

Ms Eleanor Adams (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Mon 06 Jun 2022

I am writing to you to express my support towards Mr Medhat Awad restaurant and outdoor seating area at Venezia on the Quay.

After investing in his outdoor seating area during the height of Covid-19, in order to allow the community a safe outdoor space to enjoy wonderful food and drink, I was very disappointed to hear that Exeter City Council rejected Mr Awad's application for planning permission.

Through the two years of struggle and pain where everyone suffered as a result of the impact of Covid-19, Medhat provided a safe space and a sense of community and normality through particularly trying times.

As I'm sure you are aware, the rate of inflation and rise in cost of living has created huge struggle for independent business' in Exeter, Mr Awad experiencing this first hand. This being considered, I find it heart wrenching that a local City Council would object a part of his business which he worked so hard to create, and invested a great sum of time and resource into, for our local community.

Upon a recent visit to Venezia, it is clear that Mr Awad has made some significant changes on the back of the council rejecting his planning permission. The outdoor seating area along with the parasols allows myself, friends, family, colleagues and many others to enjoy the outdoors which Covid-19 taught us all to appreciate that little bit more.

I struggle to recognise how this negatively impacts anyone in any way. There are no listed buildings around the area, the outdoor seating arrangement in no way interferes with any of the neighbouring business', and the seating area layout is awfully similar to that of "On the Waterfront" who I recognise to be in a listed building, and have received no negative implications from the city council regarding their screens and parasols.

It saddens me to see such a lack of support for a local business owner who has been in his restaurant over 20 years.

I hope you reconsider your decision and Mr Awad is able to continue trading with his outdoor seating.

Mr Dave Hopkins (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Thu 26 May 2022

I have been a customer of Bar Venezia for many years as I enjoyed dancing salsa despite the 90 mile round trip to get there because I got the feeling I was amongst family there due to the friendly welcoming atmosphere and staff. I had the chance to join the crowd and dance or sit out in the outside grassed area and chat to friends while cooling down. This area was always kept litter free by venezia staff and was a welcomed option until that monstrocity of a fish bar appeared and destroyed a lovely seating area overlooking the river. Bar Venezia has contibuted to the local economy which was increased by the addition of the outside seating area installed by Medhat.
I politely ask you to grant planning for this addition and allowing Medhat to continue to support the local economy while supplying a venue for dancing salsa among friends and family which is sadly lacking in the area and much appreciated.
Please make time to visit Bar venezia on a Sunday evening and relax in a warm friendly atmosphere and see what I love about this venue. Who knows you may be tempted to join a class and learn to dance salsa or bachatta and you might enjoy the evening with a new experience.
Yours Sincerely
Dave Hopkins

Mr Peter Lesser (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Thu 26 May 2022

I feel very fortunate to live in "The Waterfront" development. I moved here to enjoy the wonderful vibrancy of the neighbourhood, the joy of being around the water and the simply magnificent views I have of both river and canal.

I reside directly above Venezia - as close in proximity to the outdoor seating area as any property.

I am unequivocally in support of the recent works - and would be extremely disappointed to return to a previous manifestation of outdoor seating. Reasons for this are as follows;

-The outdoor dining area now appears so much neater. The site is constrained and defined, previously it could be accused of being a sprawling picnic area.

-I am hugely impressed with the design, both on an engineering and aesthetic level. It is a clever and flexible structure, much more stylish than other venues outdoor seating I have seen locally.

-The parasols undoubtedly reduce the noise.

The appearance and ambience of The Quay is important not just to those of us privileged to live here, but to the 000s of people who visit - to enjoy its beauty and hospitality. I believe the changes enhance our corner of the world as well as my view!

Mr Tony Jackson (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 17 May 2022

I object to the revised proposal; I have no objection to using the area for outside seating but fail to see the need for screens and the many issues they present.

The original application was refused as the design would 'create a permanent enclosed seating area, detrimental to the sense of openness, and the character and appearance of the wider area.' While an improvement, this revised design continues to create a permanent enclosed seating area and is a great detriment to the area.

The applicant claims that as other businesses in the Quay have screens, they should be granted permission to do so too. Samuel Jones and Puerto Lounge both have screens to stop customers failing off the edge of the seating area, while On The Waterfront has screens to prevent visitors to the Quay mistaking their outside seating for an extension of the public seating often present in the adjoining historic Fish Market. The application also highlights Lloyd's Lounge but disregards the fact the building itself is constructed of glass, not any partitions or dividers and that Lloyd's Lounge is in the city centre, not the significantly more historic Quay.

There is no acceptable justification for the installation of glass screens and the creation of an enclosed seating area - unlike elsewhere, they are not present to prevent customers falling or to avoid confusion with other adjoining public seating. Given the volume of branding on the screens, I speculate they have been installed to advertise the business to visitors to the Quay Cellars and Haven Road, while also encroaching on Rockfish's business to regain some of the custom lost to the newer restaurant. There certainly isn't any branding present on the screens the applicant sites as justification for allowing this development, another distinction disregarded in the supporting documents.

Most importantly, all of the examples provided were granted approval prior to installation; this is the second retrospective application while the business continues to use the space. It would not be unfair to suggest that if this application were refused, Bar Venezia would simply make minor alterations and submit a revised proposal while continuing to use the space through the busy summer months. I hope for Bar Venezia's sake no one has an accident in the area - without planning permission their Public Liability insurance is surely invalid!

The land Rockfish is built on and Bar Venezia are owned by the same company, who have allowed Venezia permission to erect seating on land that would typically be associated with Rockfish. Given this area was left empty on the Rockfish application, surely filling the space with glass screens and tables and chairs would be a deviation of the approved documents and a breach of Rockfish's permission?

I also find the argument that Bar Venezia requires this area to survive (and the associated petition) laughable. I'm aware we're coming out of a pandemic where restaurants have struggled greatly, but if this small increase in seating is the difference between survival and bankruptcy the business is doomed to fail regardless of the outcome of this application.

Nevertheless, it is important for businesses to thrive on the Quay and I encourage the Council to accept a revised proposal consisting solely of outside seating without the screens, likely considered permitted development. It's vital the area continues to be a hive of business but only so far as their activity does not damage the character, public access or enjoyment of the setting.

Mrs Karen Moore (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Mon 16 May 2022

I feel that the glass screens are an improvement to the area and provide much needed outdoor seating and covered area on that side of the river. In my opinion the structure is no different than those on the other side of the river. The owner should not be punished for trying to make the area more appealing and user friendly, especially given the last 2 years of Covid issues, we need more outside seating / eating areas.

Mr Martin Andrews (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Mon 16 May 2022

The quay must be about inclusivity,
The more attractions will result in more usage.
This in my opinion ,quality upgrade enhances the out door environment without causing clashes in architectural style or intrusion.
The planning departments objections are in the overall context of that area , mean spirited & deeply flawed , when considered what has been allowed recently ( rock fish) and its architectural style.
The Venezia addition actually enhances what was a stark and austere elevation.

When viewed from across the river or with one's back against the clip and climb facade looking down to the river and the outside area , it is hard for me to understand how the application in question can be viewed as cluttered and intrusive to the other surroundings

I totally support the application

Please note for transparency, I am a regular user of the Venezia cafe

Kind regards


an Idox solution