A Cotswold restaurant has questioned the decision to refuse permission for outdoor seating.

Michael’s Mediterranean in Chipping Campden High Street has seen an application to the Town Trust to make outdoor seating permanent turned down.

Co-owner Sarah Alexiou has compared their situation to that of Jeremy Clarkson, who has been battling with West Oxfordshire District Council as he looks to build a restaurant at his farm near Chipping Norton.

Her confusion at the decision is heightened by the fact that the chairs feature on the cover of the Chipping Campden Town Guide 2022.

"Surely the Trust wishes all the businesses of Chipping Campden to survive and offer them support to succeed in every way possible?" said Mrs Alexiou.

"They appear to be raising unnecessary objections when permissions have been granted in previous years with no concerns over it.

"Mr Clarkson also encountered difficulties trying to obtain council permission for improvements to his business that ultimately would serve the community better yet permissions were being declined.

"So I would like to ask the Town Trust again their reasons for not granting the licence?"

Cotswold Journal: The outdoor seating features on the 2022 town guideThe outdoor seating features on the 2022 town guide (Image: Sarah Alexiou)

Mrs Alexiou and her husband Michael set up the chairs, on Memorial Green, during the pandemic after being granted a temporary licence as the Government looked to help the industry recover.

They made an application to make the seating permanent earlier this year but were refused by the Chipping Campden Town Trust. 

A statement from the Trust read: “On the recommendation of the charity commission, legal advice was sought about whether this continued use can be possible, under the terms of the Charity’s Deed.

“Based on the subsequent clear legal advice, which looked at a range of issues, and after due consideration of the facts, nine trustees voted against the granting of a licence with one vote in favour. 

“This decision has caused disappointment to some, but equally other residents don’t wish to see the memorial green used for commercial purposes.”

Mrs Alexiou said she has received around 80 letters of support in recent weeks.

Among those backing her is the MP for the Cotswolds, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.

He said: “I have been asked to intervene by Michael and his partner Sarah and I have had a meeting with them. 

"I also had a light lunch sitting at one of their tables outside when it was permitted during the lockdown. 

"I think this dispute is very sad. 

"The trustees of the Town Trust and the hospitality businesses that serve the town should all be working together. 

"The arrangement worked perfectly satisfactorily during lockdown and there is no reason why it couldn’t do so now. 

"I strongly urge all the parties to meet together and see how this dispute could be amicably resolved.”

Mrs Alexiou is planning to raise her concerns at an upcoming Chipping Campden Town Council meeting on Tuesday, April 25.