The Coffee Cart Company applied in May 2021 for part-retrospective permission for its kiosk and three pergolas to protect its adjoining seating area on the pedestrianised High Town between October and March.
It said at the time that it had been using the spot since 1999, installing the current kiosk in 2018.
Aluminium pergolas with covered roofs were then erected in late 2020 to provide greater protection from the elements during the pandemic, when indoor socialising was not permitted.
At around the same time, pre-application advice from Herefordshire Council officers yielded “a positive response”, with agreement that the pergolas “represented a betterment to the setting of High Town”, the application said.
The firm’s planning application drew 32 letters of public support with none objecting, though Hereford City Council did object.
Following advice of the county’s historic building officer, a different planning officer concluded that the pergolas caused “less than substantial harm to the setting of the adjacent listed buildings… and historic conservation area” – though he did not object to the kiosk itself.
The company launched an appeal in May last year against his refusal to grant permission.
But now planning inspector K Stephens has backed the council’s original decision and dismissed the appeal.
The structures “would introduce a substantial permanent-looking structure, akin to a building, into a flexible public space”, while the use of retractable clear plastic sides “would further detract from any attempt of openness”, they concluded.
While acknowledging the positive role of the business locally, the inspector felt the pergolas were not essential to it, “when the appellant has operated the kiosk and outdoor parasol seating for some 20 years”.
They also acknowledged “the appellant’s concerns with the council’s handling of the application and the length of time taken to determine it, but that is a matter between the appellant and the council”.