Sir: It is easy to portray local councils objecting to cafe pavement seating in the West End ("Snatch squads strike in council's war on al fresco eating", 8 July) as killjoys. Restaurant owners, who make a great deal of money out of such al fresco extensions, naturally object to losing "free" space, but whose space is it?
There are the interests of other people who frequent the central London area and use what is the public highway. I represent the ward of Bloomsbury (which includes part of Covent Garden and also Fitzrovia (Charlotte Street). The unique character of this area comes from its mix of visitors, those who work in the area and not least those who live there (several thousand people). I am on the receiving end of endless complaints, particularly from Covent Garden residents, about the intrusions into their lives by noisy pubs and restaurants disgorging their clients into the small hours, clogging up roads and pavements, putting the lives of pedestrians at risk. The highest pollution levels in the country are another consequence of excess motor traffic.
It should not be impossible for the interests of residents and the different sections of visitors to be taken into account in a reasonable manner, as happens on the Continent. I hope that this is not another indication of the selfish society.
Suburbanites do not like their interests steam-rollered and peace and quiet threatened by "outsiders". Have a care for the interests of those who live in central London areas.
Bloomsbury Ward, Camden
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