Casebook: Appeal cases - Listed Buildings - Servery shack turned down in historic piazza

The deputy prime minister has accepted an inspector's recommendation to refuse listed building consent for the provision of service connections to supply an outside servery in front of a grade II* listed restaurant in Covent Garden, central London, concluding that it would seriously undermine the historic nature of the piazza.

The works involved installing cables and pipes through a brick-vaulted ceiling to the restaurant's basement. The servery would comprise a softwood barrow on two sets of wheels with a counter. In opposing the scheme, the council argued that the piazza was of national and international importance, comparable with the classical design of St Mark's Square in Venice. The barrow and connections would detract from its importance, it added.

The appellants maintained that the service connections would not be visible above ground and the barrow was of small scale and of a design reflecting the former use of the square as a fruit and vegetable market. The servery was necessary to adequately cater for customers sitting on tables outside the restaurant, they insisted.

The inspector decided that the works would cause physical damage to the fabric of the listed building and would increase the risk of water penetration.

The servery would also represent an alien object resembling a small building inserted into and unbalancing the symmetry of the colonnade, he judged.

In contrast with the grandeur and elegance of the listed building, it would resemble a "mere shack" that would be out of keeping with the area, he determined.

DCS No: 31579275; Inspector: Tony Davison; Hearing.

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