A proposal to serve coffee and snacks from a kiosk next to the beach at Marske has won a whole latte love from councillors.
Members of Redcar and Cleveland Council’s regulatory committee described the plans as an “asset”, a boost to tourism and just what the area needed, giving them the bean – or green – light.
Not everyone was convinced, however, with 77 representations being received by the council objecting to ‘The Coffee Box’, with comments raising concerns about litter, anti-social behaviour and the impact on views and wildlife.
Applicant Gavin Smith, who runs a crazy golf course and mini refreshment kiosk on Saltburn’s lower promenade with his businessman brother, said it would be sympathetic to the area and “not just a metal box”.
Should it go ahead, the proposed portable building would be built on land adjacent to a slipway to the beach, off the High Street, and contain a serving hatch with a drink/food preparation area.
It would be clad in natural cedar timber and outdoor seating would be included on a nearby grassed area.
Mr Smith said: “We are locals, my brother lives in Marske and I live in Saltburn and we already operate a very successful business in Saltburn that we are very proud of.
“We think this would be something that we could also be proud of in Marske.
“There isn’t anywhere permanent to get a drink or a coffee located near the beach from the Stray cafe in Redcar until you get to our business in Saltburn.
“We are very eager to get this business up and running as soon as possible.
“It is a perfect location.”
Addressing concerns about litter and waste, Mr Smith said it would be managed “with a couple of regular sized bins like residential properties would have”.
He said: “It won’t create a huge amount of rubbish like a fish and chip shop or a restaurant.
“The coffee cups will also be 100% recyclable and compostable.”
The application said no large lorries would need to access the site to make deliveries with stock delivered to a storage unit and transported using a small vehicle.
It said: “We would park appropriately and take the deliveries down the slipway via the public footpath.
“All our staff live in Marske and will either walk or cycle to work, we do not need to take any vehicles to the site.”
Saltburn, Marske and New Marske Parish Council opposed the plans, stating they were not in keeping with the surrounding area and in the wrong location.
In a statement, ward councillor Deborah Dowson said there had been a previous arson attack on a set of temporary toilets placed at the location in question.
She also said ‘The Coffee Box’ was likely to be an obstruction for emergency vehicles, fishing boats and tractors with access to the beach.
Councillor Anne Watts said she was concerned that “litter would go all over the place”.
She said: “The aesthetic of the area is just not appropriate for a snack bar there.”
But Councillor Stuart Smith, the chairman of the committee, said: “This end where the proposal is going to be it does look rather sad and neglected and it will regenerate the area.
“The applicants have a business in Saltburn and are a very professional business – it is the only business on the lower promenade that I have no complaints or any concerns from any of my residents about, whatever they do it is top notch.
“I have no concerns if this is agreed and this business will be an asset to Marske.”
Cllr Smith said during the coronavirus pandemic there had been an increase in people walking from Marske to Saltburn and from Marske to Redcar.
He said: “People like to have a coffee and this location would probably be one of the stopping points where people could have a coffee and continue on their walk.”
Councillor Neil Baldwin said it would be below street level and would not have a detrimental aesthetic.
He said: “We are the worst council in the country for new business start ups and I don’t think we are really in a position to start refusing new businesses.
“I will be supporting the application with conditions.”
Councillor Cliff Foggo said: “This will provide a facility for people on the beach when there is nothing in the area.”
Councillor Mary Ovens added: “It will add to tourism and what’s on offer, and I don’t think it will make it any busier, it’s a nice, little quiet-ish beach.
“It is tucked down below, it is not obtrusive and I think the cladding will fit in with the beach scene.”
Planning officers said the scale and design of the portable building was acceptable and would respect the character of the site and surroundings.
They said its small size would mean that it was unlikely to create levels of noise and disturbance to levels which would be unacceptable, given that the site was located within a public area where there was already a range of activity and visitors.
A report for councillors revealed there were still hurdles remaining with the plans, regardless of the successful granting of planning permission.
It said: “We [the council] have still not agreed any lease or indeed any rights to use this area of land.
“If the applicants are still minded to proceed and are successful in their application, we would still be required to market this site to the public.
“Also, it should be noted as mentioned by other consultees, the slip road adjoining the site is not owned by Redcar and Cleveland Council and is not an adopted highway, therefore any applicant would need to seek the landowners’ approval for access rights.”
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