A riverside pub has gained permission for a floating barge restaurant on the Dee despite objections from rowing clubs.
JW Lees successfully applied for the Boat House Inn at The Groves to moor a 23-metre long barge, for up to 48 diners, and linked to the pub via a gang plank.
But John Davies, vice president and a former captain of the Royal Chester Rowing Club and a governor at The King’s School, told Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee: “I wish to object to this proposal on grounds the mooring of the proposed barge will constitute a real hazard to the navigation on this part of the river for all the local rowing clubs but the King’s School and the Royal Chester Rowing Clubs in particular.
“Rowing is a very significant sport on the Dee. Between the school and local clubs we produce a large number of junior nationals, a number of whom go onto to row for Great Britain and compete in the Olympic games and world championships.”
Mr Davies, who has been rowing on the Dee since 1954, said ‘great care’ was taken to ensure the safety of youngsters learning to row on the river but stressed it was ‘a dangerous place’.
The barge would obscure visibility and may force racing boats into the centre of the river with the potential for collisions with large pleasure craft such as the Lady Diana and Mark Twain.
Ward Cllr Samantha Dixon agreed: “This application is tantamount to an al fresco dining area in the middle of a motorway.”
However, planning officer Nick Howard, who recommended approval, said there were a number of pontoons up and downstream of the site and the barge “would not add a further obstruction” as long as vessels were not permitted to moor up to the structure.
Councillors backed the scheme, with nine votes in favour and one against.