Exeter Planning
10 Whitchurch Avenue

Planning permission required for cutlery

A businessman in Hereford has been told he must remove a giant knife and fork from outside his cafe because there is no planning permission in place.

Bill Sewell, founder and owner of the Cafe@All Saints in the city’s former All Saints Church commissioned the cutlery from a local metalworker to add interest and vibrancy to the church entrance but he has been told by the Local Planning Authority to remove the “structures” because he has no planning permission – and is unlikely to get it because the church is in a Conservation Area.

Reportedly Mr Sewell has decided to advertise the knife and fork on e-bay. He said,

“It was too expensive to apply for planning permission, particularly given they had given a strong steer that they weren’t going to give it. I just think it’s a shame. I’m not blaming individual people in the planning department – they are doing their jobs and doing what they are supposed to do – I just think there’s a problem with the system whereby something interesting and individual made by a local craftsman contributing to both the cafe and the townscape is effectively barred from happening”.

The knife is about 3.2 meters high and the fork is 2.8 meters high. They each weight about 70kg and have been bolted to the pavement to make them stable.

“I’m hoping the BFG is looking for a new knife and fork”, added Mr Sewell.

“But seriously, they’re beautifully made sculptures and I’m sorry that they can’t have a permanent home outside All Saints, but it’s too expensive and time consuming to fight the council on this. Maybe there’s a country pub or someone with a big garden, for whom they could be really special”.

The planning authority said planning permission and listed building consent is required for all works that affect the setting of listed buildings and in this instance planning officers, after consultation with conservation officers, made the applicant aware that they would not be able to support an application due to the impact on the setting of the church.

Exeter Planning