Popular Ferring seafront café’s expansion plans could be blocked

An artists' impression of the expanded Bluebird Cafe in Ferring. Picture: OM Architectural Design SUS-180924-124400001
An artists' impression of the expanded Bluebird Cafe in Ferring. Picture: OM Architectural Design SUS-180924-124400001

Plans to expand a popular café on Ferring’s seafront should be turned down according to council officers.

The Bluebird Café in The Strand wants permission for a two-storey extension to its existing building so it can provide extra seating and kitchen areas.

Bluebird Cafe at Ferring. Pic Steve Robards SR1824897 SUS-180921-165210001

Bluebird Cafe at Ferring. Pic Steve Robards SR1824897 SUS-180921-165210001

Proposals include a multi-use space for community and charitable groups and new access ramp and wheelchair platform lift.

The plans envisage a new fish and chip serving are and an ice cream parlour to the south west of the building.

The planning application describes how the café is frequently operating at full capacity and needs more space to meet the needs of its customers, adding: “The applicants vision is to establish the Bluebird Café as the central attraction for the village and local community.”

The application concludes: “With the popularity of Ferring Beach to locals and visitors from afar, the café is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success in not being able to meet demand for quality and customer service and experience.

“With further hard work and maintaining its approach to its valued customers; this proposal offers a solution which provides the café with a more sustainable and adaptable / flexible space that will ensure its continued growth and success within the community.”

While the plans have attracted 41 letters of support a further 197 objections have been received by Arun District Council.

They raise concerns about parking and traffic congestion, overdevelopment of a quiet beach and coastal walk spot, noise and light pollution, design of the building and overlooking affecting nearby residential properties.

Both Kingston and Ferring parish councils have also objected raising similar concerns.

The application is due to be discussed by Arun District Council’s development control committee on Wednesday February 13 with planning officers recommending refusal.

In their report they suggest the plans are contrary to policies in the Arun local plan which seek to protect the countryside and designated gaps from unwarranted development.

They argued the extension would alter the appearance of the building to such an extent that it would become ‘obtrusive’ in its setting and would ‘adversely affect the amenities and character of the area’.

Officers also felt the design resulted in a ‘fragmented and fussy appearance’, while the proposals would ‘increase vehicle movements along an access which as limited width and visibility and has made no provision for the parking demand associated with the increase in seating capacity’. The report added: “This would consequently result in overspill parking on neighbouring roads causing obstruction and a loss of amenity’.