Chipping Sodbury restaurant fights council ban on outdoor tables

THE owners of a Chipping Sodbury restaurant are taking their fight to a town council meeting after being refused permission to put up tables and chairs outside on The Pitching.

Amigos Cocina (pictured above, last summer) is a Mexican family restaurant run by Shamsi Kabbara, her husband Dave and daughter Yasmine.  

Dave received a double lung transplant in 2019, but despite the medical issues they have faced, the family have since built a thriving eatery.

The restaurant has offered seating outside their premises on Broad Street which is popular in the summer months. 

The four tables and eight benches take up two parking spaces on the Pitchings, and after using the space last year, the restaurant applied to Sodbury Council for permission to use the space again this summer.

Town council says space ‘wasn’t well used’

However their request was refused, with a full council meeting hearing that “the provision wasn’t well used last year – and was hardly ever used during the day except on occasions when the High Street was closed to traffic for other events.”

The council noted that although the space was occupied all the time, the restaurant wasn’t open on Monday or Tuesday.

Councillors decided that “on balance, the permanent loss of two Pitchings parking spaces for the whole summer was not proportional to the potential benefit of outdoor seating when the restaurant is currently only open at limited times and appears to be rarely utilised by patrons.”

Shamsi said on the restaurant’s Facebook page: “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. This could be make or break our family business, that I have fought so hard to keep going through such a difficult time for us.

“Last year, I had no chef so was cooking by myself, plus looking after Dave. This year, I am lucky enough to have two great chefs plus a team of carers. 

“Please, please, please could you show your support…so that I can try to appeal this devastating decision.”

Petition passes 1,600 signatures

Shamsi has managed to get the decision discussed again at the next council meeting on Tuesday, May 14, after a petition on the website in support of her bid passed 1,600 supporters.

Chipping Sodbury businessman and former town mayor James Ball said: “To be singled out as the only hospitality provider in Chipping Sodbury not to be able to extend an outside welcome to clients is extremely disheartening.

“We have one of the largest High Streets in the country, and there is room for everyone!”

Shamsi is calling on supproters to attend the meeting, which takes place at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall at 7pm.