Northampton café’s boundaries to be ‘formalised’ a year after calls were made to reel in owner’s outdoor area

Previous cafe' of the year winner Tony Ansell wants to 'regularise' the seating arrangement outside his premises.
Previous cafe' of the year winner Tony Ansell wants to 'regularise' the seating arrangement outside his premises.

A cafe-owning councillor who came under fire last year when his outdoor seating appeared to be spreading across Abington Park, is to have his table arrangements “formalised” by his Tory colleagues.

Last September a row erupted between the Abington Park Café owner, Councillor Tony Ansell (Con, Abington) and the leader of the Labour Group Councillor Danielle Stone.

She said his establishment’s seating arrangement was “unfair” on his competitors and was concerned the public open space offered by the park was being encroached upon.

On September 25 last year she fired out an angry tweet carrying a picture of the tables and chairs across Abington Park with the words: “How many tables and chairs should one park cafe have? “Taking over all our green space!”

But on Wednesday next week Northampton Borough Council’s Conservative cabinet is set to grant Councillor Ansell an extension to his lease of the building for a further 25 years.

As part of that he wants the authority to grant him a licence to formally expand the boundaries of his outdoor area.

The council papers say: “The tenant currently provides tables and chairs for the consumption of food and drink in an area that extends beyond his current demise and it is desirable to regularise this situation.”

Officers recommend any licence granted should be “determinable annually.”

This, the cabinet papers say, gives the council the ability to “regulate this use.”

At the same meeting the council is expected to extend the ground lease of the Park Inn to keep it as a hotel until at least 2140.

Cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland, said: “With our investment in building our Enterprise Zone and Cultural Quarter attracting more people to the town it is important to provide quality places to stay and visit.

“The lease requests from the Park Inn Hotel and Abington Park Café will help to meet this need and not only shows a vote of confidence in Northampton but also in its future for both business and tourism.”