Outdoor dining wins approval

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Market Eating House chef Brenton Pyke.
Camera IconMarket Eating House chef Brenton Pyke.

After three years of planning and development approvals, a popular Bunbury restaurant is set to expand its dining experience with the addition of an alfresco area and a secondary door.

But the journey towards creating an outdoor dining area for Marketing Eating House has not been an easy journey for owners Brenton and Bec Pyke.

Back in 2017, the pair applied for an outdoor dining licence for a sidewalk dining area, which was approved. Furniture was bought and annual fees were paid, but congestion issues with the front entrance proved too challenging and the pair had no choice but to put their plans on hold.

“During busy times there can be up to 30 people entering the venue, 30 people leaving the venue, and another 15 people picking up takeaway food, all in the space of 10 minutes,” Mrs Pyke said.

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“Adding staff servicing an outdoor dining area to that mix would be unsafe and simply would not work.” After having several plans drawn up, the duo committed to spending $50,000 on this addition — significantly more than they initially budgeted.

But just as they were ready to push on with the expansion, their development application triggered Bunbury heritage advisers to assess the significance of the building, affecting every aspect of the outdoor dining project.

“Our building is not heritage-listed, nor has there ever been any talk of there being any heritage significance,” Mrs Pyke said. “We had exhausted every other avenue of creating safe access, and this was the only option possible for our restaurant to operate the outdoor dining area.”

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, all Bunbury councillors except one voted in favour of the restaurant’s proposed changes to the front facade.

The restaurant will soon have a second entrance for staff access, as well as for customers picking up takeaway orders. Cr Treslyn Smith voted against the agenda item.

“As chair of the heritage committee, I have a moral obligation to stand up for the built environment,” she said.

“Many things differentiate Bunbury but one thing sets it apart, and that is its built environment and I believe these places are what make Bunbury different.”

Work began on the outdoor eating area last week and is expected to be complete before the end of the year.

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