Row over cafe seating area in Northampton park

Councillor Danielle Stone tweeted this picture of the Park Cafe on Abington Park, questioning the need for so many tables and chairs.

Councillor Danielle Stone tweeted this picture of the Park Cafe on Abington Park, questioning the need for so many tables and chairs.

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A row has erupted between a Northampton cafe owner and a fellow borough councillor after the former chose to spread an outdoor seating area into Abington Park.

Leader of the Labour group on Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Danielle Stone, says the seating arrangement outside the Park Cafe in Abington Park is “unfair” on its competitors.

The popular business, owned by Tory councillor Tony Ansell (Con, Abington) has recently seen tables and chairs placed around the venue on the surrounding parkland in finer weather.

But Councillor Stone, whose county council ward is Abington and Phippsville, took to Twitter last week to post a picture of the seating area with the words: “How many tables and chairs should one park cafe have?

“Taking over all our green space!”

This week she continued to say: “My concern is that the chairs and tables appear to be spreading over more of the park. Where does it stop?

“The café has a loyal customer base I’m sure but it shouldn’t be taking up more and more green space.

She added: “I am not sure this is fair on other local restaurants and cafes as they are restricted to the number of chairs and tables they can put out. It’s unfair competition.”

But Councillor Ansell has delivered a swift response.

He said: “The fact is Delapré Abbey has the same seating arrangements, and Councillor Stone just wants to grab a headline wherever she can.

“What would she rather have people sitting on the floor?”

Councillor Ansell’s Park Cafe was voted as Cafe of the year by Chronicle & Echo readers in a recent poll and is set to host a Macmillan Coffee Morning this morning, from which he expects to raise around £1,500.

He added: “I could show you boxes of work I’ve done to help this park over the years, what has she done?”