A Horsham sweet shop owner has expressed ‘frustration’ at the council over his plans to place tables and chairs outside his town centre store.
Joseph Crouch, 24, who lives in Worthing but owns Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in West Street along with two other stores in Crawley and Redhill, applied for permission to Horsham District Council (HDC) in June for a set of tables and chairs outside his premises.
He is hoping to offer ice creams and hot drinks outside and thinks the table and chairs will give him ‘more of a presence’ in the high street.
But he told the County Times of his frustration at the speed of the process as he wanted to have a summer offering to fully capitalise on the holiday period, and felt the council was not clear itself on what it had and had not approved in other parts of the town centre.
Mr Crouch said: “My frustration more than anything is I wanted to capitalise on the good times and the council have just been slow.”
He added: “It just seems to me they do not know what they are approving and what their policies are.”
When he took pictures of the new set up the reaction had been ‘absolutely amazing’.
A spokesperson for HDC said: “We work very closely with businesses across the district to help them to succeed and we support the ongoing economic success and vibrancy of the town in partnership with local businesses and organisations.
“Indeed, Horsham town has not suffered the decline that many other high streets across the UK have done in recent years.”
It added: “We have dealt with many applications for tables and chairs in the recent past and as a result we have a thriving café culture. We are sorry that, on this occasion, Mr Crouch is unhappy with the service that we have provided.”
The spokesperson said that while not all consultation responses had been favourable, the decision was based on whether or not the tables and chairs were a health and safety risk, and since they were judged not to be by HDC’s officers the application was likely to be approved when they had received his outstanding insurance documents.