Councillors blast Greenwich Pier restaurant signs
July 6, 2012 by Rob Powell
COUNCILLORS have thrown out a planning application for signs and advertising already installed at the new Zizzi restaurant at the Greenwich Pier development.
Greenwich West councillor, Maureen O'Mara, blasted the restaurant for not having have the "guts" or "courage" to be at the meeting of the Greenwich Area Planning Committee on Wednesday night.
She said: "What I wanted to ask them if they had the guts to turn up is, 'Why did you do this without any planning permission at all?'"
The clearly furious councillor added, "This is a World Heritage Site. It's one of the most precious sites in London. I've heard that they say, 'this is what we do wherever we open up places'. Well, this is Greenwich and we do not do this in Greenwich. This horrible application needs to be turned down."
Councillor Dick Quibell (Peninsula, Labour) said the plans were "violently out of keeping with the tone of a World Heritage Site." Councillor Hayley Fletcher (Hornfair with Kidbrooke, Labour), who was earlier elected as Vice Chair of the committee, commented that the signs looked "hideous."
Conservative councillor Geoff Brighty, representing Blackheath Westcombe, said he had found the Pier development "disappointing" and that the signs were "trashy."
The committee unanimously voted against the restaurant's lettering, menu box and window signs, despite council officers recommending the plans be approved.
Councillors also had the chance to determine the signs, and proposed parasols, at Frankie and Benny's.
Claims were made by the applicant that advice had been sought from the council before their signs were initially put up but this was disputed by council officers and councillors decided to investigate that point and reconsider the applications at September's meeting of the committee.
Commenting to Greenwich.co.uk the day after the committee meeting, Paul Mitchell from The Restaurant Group, said they would "proceed with the current application" which they believe is "appropriate for the area", but added that they would "continue to liaise with the Planning Officer who has been dealing with our application and take advice."
Asked whether the company had experience of opening branches in sensitive heritage sites, Mr Mitchell commented:
"As a Group we do have a number of sites in our portfolio in sensitive areas where we always work with the Local Authorities and other relevant bodies to achieve a signage scheme which is mutually acceptable to all parties.
"We always seek dialogue and guidance before an Application is submitted to ensure a successful and speedy decision and that our Advertisement Applications take into account the needs of the community in which we are operating."