Developers are arguing that the now-approved second floating restaurant on Brayford Pool in Lincoln is necessary to ensure the future of the waterway despite concerns from some residents and the Lincoln Civic Trust.
As previously reported, the Planning Inspectorate allowed plans for a second floating restaurant on the waterfront after an appeal by The Brayford Trust.
Plans for the restaurant were previously rejected by City of Lincoln Council’s planning committee.
The £1 million building will sit on stilts, similar to the Wagamama restaurant, and it will be located to the west the viewing platform, which will also be refurbished and brought back to life through the project.
Rob Baxter, Interim Chief Finance Officer at City of Lincoln Council, said: “The council has received a request from The Brayford Trust for our consent, in principle, to its proposed development at the Brayford Pool.
“This request will now be considered by the council as landlord under the terms of the lease.”
The City of Lincoln Council’s planning committee unanimously refused plans for a second floating restaurant on the Brayford at a meeting on September 14, 2016, stating the design would not be in-keeping with the area and that views would be harmed.
Many residents have aired their concerns, suggesting Wagamama is an ‘eyesore’ and that a new ‘floating’ restaurant being approved is ‘scandalous’.
The Lincoln Civic Trust has also aired its concerns, suggesting that second restaurant is not necessary due to Brayford Trust’s increasing surplus year on year.
Jeremy Wright, on behalf of Lincoln Civic Trust, said: “Investors in Lincoln has this joint development initiative with the Brayford Trust, whose five year business plan was approved by the City Council in 2014.
“This shows modest growth. However, the trust has well exceeded this plan, with significant surpluses being made each year.
“It is therefore apparent that funds from this second ‘floating’ restaurant are not essential to meet dredging costs, and that this development is not necessary to achieve the approved plan.”
According to the Brayford Trust’s annual report, the trust made a surplus for the year (2016) of £76,018 compared to £45,587 in 2015.
‘Doing nothing is not an option’
However, The Brayford Trust and Investors in Lincoln have said the new restaurant is needed to ensure the pool is available for future generations.
Chief executive of Investors in Lincoln and trustee of the Brayford Trust David Rossington told Lincolnshire Business: “The Brayford is a major jewel in Lincoln’s crown and our objectives are the same as those of our critics… the conservation of the Brayford for future generations.
“Lincoln cannot just sit by and do nothing…action needs to be taken now if we want the Brayford to be around for future generations.
“The background to the project dates back to 2014 when the Brayford Trust and Investors in Lincoln were looking for ways of raising ongoing funds for the maintenance and conservation of the Brayford…not just to deal with today’s problems but to look ahead at the longer term.
“The Brayford Trust is a registered charity which operates on a not for profit basis to maintain Brayford Pool, which it leases from the City Council. All the income generated by the Brayford Trust is re-invested in improving and maintaining the pool and its surrounds for today and for future generations and all of its trustees are unpaid volunteers.
“The discussions in 2014 came up with the idea of a new restaurant just to the west of the existing Viewing Platform, prompted by the successful development of the derelict Harbour Masters Office (which does provide some rental income to the trust) into the unit now occupied by Wagamama.
“A design was agreed that complimented the area and added to rather than detracted from its historic past. An application for Planning Permission was made, with the full support of the Planning Officers and Historic England. This application was turned down by the Planning Committee, but allowed on appeal.
“The question of the new development having a detrimental impact on views across the Brayford was considered very carefully at the original design stage. We came to the view that any impact would be minimal.
“When it comes to the maintenance of the pool, you have to be prepared for the unexpected.
“Higher than average water levels can make a major difference to the need for dredging and can cause damage to the banks that have to be addressed on a regular basis. None of this can be accurately forecast. As I said at the outset, doing nothing is not an option.”