Council enforcement action against a popular Sheffield pub over its beer garden has been put on hold for six weeks to try and reach a compromise.
A complaint was made against The Crown Inn pub in Totley after it removed part of a hedge on its car park and put out around ten benches in a neighbouring field it owns to create a makeshift beer garden.
Concerns were raised by local resident Catherine Hughes that planning permission had not been granted to use the green belt land as a beer garden.
Sheffield Council officers had asked for authority from the council’s planning committee to take potential legal action against the pub ordering the hedge to be reinstated and the beer garden removed.
While councillors agreed to give council planning officers the powers requested, they voted to prevent any enforcement proceedings against the pub for six weeks to allow time for all parties to ‘find a solution’.
It came after landlord Jack Halsall told the meeting planning permission was not needed to use the land for 28 days per year, while it was ‘unfair’ the nearby Cricket Inn pub could have 40 benches outside but The Crown was not allowed ten.
Planning enforcement officer Khalid Mahmood said the authority was ‘not aware’ of benches outside the Cricket Inn and would check to see if that pub was complying with the correct legislation.
Catherine Hughes told councillors: “Anyone who lives in Totley knows you can’t do anything without council permission.
“It is unthinkable you could change the use of a green belt field from agricultural to business without the council and involving the residents.”
The meeting was told that the pub had gone over its 28-day use limit for this year.
Councillor Jack Clarkson said he had a ‘lot of sympathy’ with the landlord, while Councillor Tony Damms said there should be some ‘breathing space to try and resolve this’.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Halsall said he was ‘extremely happy’ with the outcome and was hopeful a compromise could be reached allowing the pub to have a small beer garden.
“We have got a meeting now - that is something we didn’t get previously as the council wouldn’t speak to us,” he said.
“To be able to sit down and put a plan together where all parties are happy - we couldn’t ask for much more than that.
“We have had one complaint out of the whole of the Dore and Totley community, that is not a lot.”
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