Italian Gardens to be converted into al fresco dining area

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman - Credit: Nick Page. Hayman.

Weston town centre will be transformed into a continental-style dining as a new outdoor seating scheme launches this weekend.

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman - Credit: Nick Page. Hayman.

As part of North Somerset Council’s reopening plan, the outdoor seating scheme will offer public seating to support businesses, with free tables and chairs, spread out across different areas.

The al fresco dining areas will be complemented by a cultural programme of events, which will follow later in the summer.

The outdoor eating areas include Weston’s Italian Gardens, which opens today (Thursday).

Cllr Mark Canniford, the council’s executive member for business, economy and employment, said: “The hospitality sector is vital to Weston’s economy and they, with our many other attractions, are the reason people come to enjoy our wonderful town.

“These are challenging times for restaurants and cafés.


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“The new eating and drinking areas will support local businesses and offer safe, quality, socially distanced eating and drinking spaces with a more continental feel.”

At the Italian Gardens, 10 tables and 25 chairs on each of the four corners of the gardens create seating for a total of 100 people on the square at any one time.

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Richmond Event Management, the company which runs Weston’s Air Festival, has been awarded the tender to run the outdoor seating scheme.

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman - Credit: Nick Page. Hayman.

The council has also put in place measures to create safe shopping spaces for owners and customers to allow retail businesses to safely welcome customers back within the new distancing rules.

Changes have included cordoning off parking spaces to allow effective social distancing with barriers that will be used temporarily during the pandemic.

The project will run until mid-October and seating will be provided on Thursday’s, Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 10am–9pm.

Tables and chairs will be provided and will be cleared away and stored every night.

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman

Social distanced seating in the Italian Gardens. Picture: Nick Page Hayman - Credit: Nick Page. Hayman.

The outdoor seating areas will not be designed for table service from food and drink outlets, however people can eat and drink takeaway food, have a business meeting or appointment or meet with friends.

Staff will provide oversight on each site by making sure tables and chairs are not moved or damaged.

They will also be responsible for cleaning the tables and chairs to ensure compliance with Government coronavirus guidelines.

The staff members will be linked to council community safety officers where available and will provide regular reports enabling the project team to make changes to the spaces as needed.

Opening times will be kept in review after concerns were raised about opening past 6pm.

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