Letter: Dubious cafe culture

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Sir: I have followed with interest and enthusiasm your campaign to reclaim misused public spaces in London and introduce outdoor cafes, etc, a la continentale. A wonderful idea, but can we really cope with it?

A walk in Hyde Park yesterday, along the banks of the Serpentine, led me to discover the awful truth about how our most beautiful existing public spaces are ruined by shoddy facilities - namely the 'Waterside Cafe'. Shoddy plastic furniture, an appallingly dirty waterfront and, for the privilege of enjoying this dismal prospect, a charge of pounds 1 for a can of Coca-Cola served in an ambience which brought to mind the worst excesses of early motorway cafes.

What a poor unsuspecting tourist would think on being confronted with this landscape of guano and goose feathers I am embarrassed to imagine.

If this is typical of what happens when we are turned loose on our most beautiful assets, I think a campaign for converting them into car parks should be started.

Yours faithfully,


London, W2

14 June