MP STEVE Brine has offered support after a pair of city centre restaurants were criticised for impeding the pavement with tables and chairs.

As previously reported, this comes after a letter from Stephen Percy published in the Hampshire Chronicle complained that the tables outside Overdraft and Greens, on Jewry Street, severely reduced the width of the thoroughfare.

Commenters on the Chronicle website said that the reduced width makes it difficult for wheelchair users, people with pushchairs or limited mobility to navigate the street, while the Daily Mail published an article examining how local people feel about the tables.

Hampshire Chronicle: Steve Brine MP outside Greens with restaurant owner Peter Neave (right)Steve Brine MP outside Greens with restaurant owner Peter Neave (right) (Image: Steve Brine)READ MORE: Coffee roaster to open shop in former sofa store in the city centre

Now, Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, has come out in support of the restaurants.

Mr Brine said: “I was contacted by the, frankly bemused, team at Greens last week and was saddened someone was stirring up trouble for them. They’ve had these, much used and enjoyed, outdoor tables for years and they tell me they have every necessary licence in place. If the council wish to review that they can of course do so.

“I visited Greens on Friday (January 26) to have a look and subsequently met with Winchester BID who are liaising with them and Overdraft next door to make sure everyone is supported.

“At the end of the day, the response from customers rather says it all. We should remember that one letter, and the muck-raking involvement of the Daily Mail, don’t create a problem where none exists.”

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Mr Brine said that Greens is also looking to remove a cable which runs across the street as part of plans to power its gazebo with batteries.

A spokesperson for Winchester City Council previously told the Chronicle: “Any business that sells, or proposes to sell, food or drink can apply for permission to place furniture on a highway.  We work with businesses to ensure that necessary criteria are met including access for pedestrians, wheelchair users and pushchairs.

“Hampshire Highways as landowner is also consulted as part of this. Permissions are reviewed annually. Hospitality businesses were particularly hard hit during the pandemic, and we always seek to balance the benefits for the businesses with public access.”