Pedro’s revamp in jeopardy as key planning bid is turned down

Andre Serruys and daughter Annie in the half-finished restaurant in the Pedro's building. Pic: Archa

Andre Serruys and daughter Annie in the half-finished restaurant in the Pedro's building. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

A major stumbling block has been hit in the long-awaiting refurbishment of a city restaurant, with a key planning application refused by council bosses.

The once-popular Pedro's Mexican Cantina in Chapelfield Gardens in Norwich closed at the end of April after decades of trade.

Since this happened, owner Andre Serruys launched a bid to rebrand the restaurant as an American burger bar named Harry's, after his late father.

Part of these proposals touted a pair of mounted awnings either side of the building, one providing an outdoor seating area and another as an access point for takeaway food.

However, this vision has now been scuppered after planning bosses at City Hall used delegated powers to refuse Mr Serruys' latest application.

In notifying Mr Serruys of the refusal, Graham Nelson, Norwich City Council's head of planning said the proposals would encroach on a play area also in the park.

He wrote: "The proposal would create conflict with access to the children's play area to the south west and the adjacent cycle hoops.

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"The additional external seating would prevent easy access to both of these facilities, where both cycles and other large items such as buggies are regularly manoeuvred."

Mr Nelson also argued that the proposed takeaway part of the business would likely see queuing through the park resulting in access to the park being obstructed.

He added: "The combination of the takeaway area and extra seating would effectively block off the existing access along the south west of the building from others."

Previously, Mr Serruys had been critical of the city council after it refused to allow him to purchase the entire park.

He claimed he and the council were at a "complete impasse", accusing the council of "putting every obstacle" in his way.

Interior works to the building are already under way, with the restaurant being stripped out following its closure on Sunday, April 28.

Pedro's had been in business for more than 30 years prior to this, but slowing trade meant the owners took the decision to close down and rebrand.

Meanwhile, a separate application solely for advertising signs is yet to be determined.

It remains to be seen whether Mr Serruys - who has been approached for comment - will appeal the council's decision.