AN ITALIAN restaurant will be allowed to keep a cover for its outdoor dining area it originally put up in response to Covid restrictions.
Panevino, which is on the ground floor of the Grade II-listed Afon Gwy hotel at 28 Bridge Street in Chepstow, put the timber frame pergola up to protect diners from the weather when public health regulations only allowed diners to eat outside.
It has now been given planning permission by Monmouthshire County Council to keep the free-standing frame which is covered with transparent polycarbonate roof sheeting and which is within Chepstow’s conservation area.
Neighbours, from either side of the restaurant, acknowledged the pergola would reduce “disturbance” from outside dinners but questioned its “structural integrity”.
A report, by planning officer Kate Young, said: “Apparently in recent high winds some of the translucent panels blew of the structure and ended up in the neighbouring property.”
The council’s building control department didn’t comment after being contacted as part of the application process however.
Concerns that the panels could be hard to clean, and become “increasingly unsightly”, and whether they could withstand snow accumulation, were described as “not strictly planning considerations”. Ms Young also said it wasn’t for the department to determine how many diners should attend at one time in response to a fear numbers would increase.
She said the building’s use as a restaurant was well-established.
Natural Resources Wales withdrew its objection after the restaurant agreed the structure’s posts would no longer be fixed to the flood defences the environment body maintains.
The report said though the pergola can be seen from the opposite bank of the Wye, and in the context of the historic town and castle, is wouldn’t be dominant and neither is attached to the listed building while the heritage officer had “no concerns” due to its lightweight free standing nature “and that it is completely revisable”.