Chef Mark Hix online with local council on outdoor dining

The Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen star has built the large wooden terrace of his luxury seafood restaurant during the pandemic – Matt Austin

Mark Hix, the acclaimed chef, found himself embroiled in a heated argument with local council officials who opposed his plans for an outdoor terraced dining area.

The Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen star built the large wooden deck at his luxury seafood restaurant during the pandemic.

The three-tier expansion was automatically approved when the government eased regulations to help hospitality serve food outdoors.

Mr Hix asked to keep the structure permanently, but planners at Lyme Regis Council, Dorset, have now rejected the proposals, saying they encroached on public gardens.

In response, Mr Hix is ‚Äč‚Äčthreatening to withdraw his charitable support for the seaside town, pulling out of the annual food festivals and fundraising events he organizes, which he says have raised “hundreds of thousands books” for the local RNLI and boost tourism.

Revenues without a terrace would be down about 30%

The 40ft by 26ft space outside Mr Hix’s Oyster and Fish House enjoys panoramic sea views in the Dorset coastal town.

The 59-year-old restaurateur, who opened the restaurant in 2020, said his income would be cut by around 30% if he was forced to demolish the £20,000 terrace.

The TV personality and food writer claims to have the backing of almost every restaurant in the Port City.

He has accused Lyme Regis City Council of being ‘anti-business’ and is also threatening to burn the wood from the terrace outside the town hall in protest if he has to remove it.

The space outside Mr Hix's Oyster and Fish House offers panoramic sea views in the Dorset coastal town - BNPS

The space outside Mr Hix’s Oyster and Fish House offers panoramic sea views in the Dorset coastal town – BNPS

Mr Hix said: “We have the best reputation of any restaurant in town and the little advice should be on our side.

“These people have no interest in business and seem to be anti-tourism.

“Over the years I’ve done a lot for the town in terms of charity and events, but they totally ignored that. You’d think they would be more supportive.”

He added: “If I have to take the bridge down I won’t be supporting the RNLI and I won’t be doing any festivals.

“Anything that brings tourism into town events, festivals, local charities linked to the town hall and tourism will be removed.”

“I could even take the wood from the terrace and set it on fire in front of the town hall.”

Council ‘did what they could’ to support Mr Hix during the pandemic

The bridge was built on land in Lister Gardens, owned by the City Council, which he said had “never been used” before it was developed.

The council rejected the plans, saying they constituted an ‘entrance’ to a public amenity and had an ‘adverse effect on the gardens’.

The Lyme Regis Society, which aims to safeguard the town’s architectural and natural beauty, also objected, saying making the terrace permanent ‘would set a dangerous precedent for the rental or sale of parts of Langmoor Gardens for commercial purposes. “.

Mark Green, the deputy clerk of Lyme Regis City Council, said the council had done what it could to support Mr Hix during the pandemic.

He added: “Council were concerned about the permanent encroachment on the public gardens from commercial use and the large outdoor terraced seating area that came with it.

“This request has now been withdrawn by the applicant pending further discussion.”

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