A city centre café says it has been forced to sell its new outdoor picnic tables – blaming ‘red tape’ stopping it using the grounds of neighbouring Sheffield Cathedral.
The Eten café laid out the large wooden tables opposite its entrance on East Parade, on a patch of grass which belongs to the cathedral.
But head chef Lee Vintin said the venture was now being abandoned just days later – following the discovery council permission is needed for an al fresco dining area. He said: “We thought we had a verbal agreement with the cathedral, and went ahead and bought the tables.”
Lee said applying for permission would cost several hundred pounds.
“We don’t have the money so we’re selling the tables. We’re struggling and wanted it to kickstart our business. It’s red tape. It’s a massive shame.”
Mark Ford, the cathedral’s director of operations, said talks took place over the tables earlier this year.
“Although these discussions were not concluded, Eten placed some tables late last week,” he said.
“We pointed out to them that in order for us to grant formal permission the appropriate consents would be needed from the council.”
He added: “Since the re-opening of the cathedral we have held several successful events in Cathedral Square. It is becoming an increasingly vibrant area.
“We welcome members of the public to use the area and would be delighted for them to visit the cathedral.”
And a spokesman for Sheffield Council said: “We would like to work with Eten to resolve this issue and are sorry to hear they have taken the decision to remove their outdoor tables before first working through the options in partnership with our licensing officials.”