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Customers rally round to save Fine Food 4 Sail restaurant in Lymington
CUSTOMERS have leapt to the defence of a popular restaurant on the eve of a planning inquiry that could decide its fate.
People living near Fine Food 4 Sail are also supporting the waterside eatery, despite claims that householders have to endure late-night noise from rowdy patrons.
Many of the locals say the family-run restaurant is being blamed for noise made by revellers returning from other venues in the area.
But New Forest District Council says the proprietor, Paul Bayntun, 63, only has planning permission to operate a small cafe on the site.
Last year the authority rejected a retrospective application to continue using the building as a restaurant, despite receiving 88 letters supporting the proposal.
The business lodged an appeal against the council’s decision and a hearing chaired by a Government-appointed planning inspector will be held on September 3.
Mr Bayntun told the Daily Echo that he had consent to use two thirds of the building as a cafe/restaurant.
Asked about the noise allegations he said he had “bent over backwards” to satisfy his critics, adding that no-one was allowed to use the car park after 6pm and the front door after 9pm. Anyone arriving by car after 6pm had to park elsewhere.
He added: “I’d have given up years ago if I thought we were damaging people’s quality of life.”
Many of the locals are supporting Mr Bayntun and his daughter Sophie, the manageress. They claim the complaints have been made by a tiny minority of Bath Road residents whose views have been given too much weight by the council.
They and other customers are also quick to highlight the business’s contribution to the local economy, which relies on tourism and the sailing industry.
Susanna Baird said: “Lymington needs tourists and it’s incredibly important that we encourage people to come here by providing the right facilities.
“It’s also important that we keep businesses going, especially in the current economic climate.”
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