Thousands sign petition to save Mark Hix's restaurant deck from closure

06 February 2023 by
Thousands sign petition to save Mark Hix's restaurant deck from closure

Mark Hix has thanked supporters after over 6,500 people signed a petition calling for an outdoor seating area at his restaurant to be saved from closure.

The chef took advantage of relaxed planning rules to build a £20,000 wooden deck at his Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis during the pandemic.

However, permission for the structure expires on 31 March and local councillors voted for it to be removed in a meeting last month.

A petition was launched to ‘Save Mark Hix's Decking' last week which has received thousands of signatures and comments.

Hix wrote on Instagram that the signatures numbered more "than the population of Lyme Regis".

He wrote: "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We never take your support for granted. Maybe we won't have to chain ourselves to the railings after all?"

Hix said that the council had agreed to discuss the issue at a meeting at 7pm on 15 February and members of the public were allowed to write letters of support or attend the meeting.

The chef previously warned the deck's removal would put the future of the restaurant in "serious jeopardy" and result in "a significant number of job losses".

John Wright, town clerk at Lyme Regis Town Council, said permission for the deck had been refused as it was only meant to be temporary and there were concerns it encroached onto land used for public gardens.

Wright said: "The council granted temporary permission for the Oyster and Fish House, and several other local businesses, to provide additional outside seating on council-owned land as part of the government's request for local councils to support the hospitality industry through the pandemic. Initially, that permission was granted for one year.

"This was subsequently extended for a second year. More recently, the council has agreed to extend that temporary permission for a further six months until 31 March 2023. All of these permissions were granted at a nominal cost to help support the Oyster and Fish House and others.

"The town council has considered a request from the Oyster and Fish House to make the outside seating area permanent and has decided not to agree to this because the public gardens should be kept free of commercial development for the enjoyment of local residents and visitors. The initial request was only agreed by the town council as a temporary Covid-related business support measure."

Last year the Sam's Riverside restaurant in London's Hammersmith was forced to remove an outdoor terrace set up during the pandemic after full planning permission was refused by the council.

Hix said anyone wishing to attend the council meeting and support the deck should email

To view the petition, click here.

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