Plans to change Esquires into restaurant go before planning committee

Entertainment / Thu 7th Oct 2021 at 07:48am

PLANS to change a Water Gardens coffee shop into a restaurant are set to go before the Harlow Council planning committee.

The application relates to Esquires.


The proposal is to change the use of the café (Use Class E(a)) to a restaurant and bar (Use Class E (b) and Sui Generis).

Floor plans have been submitted with the application and these show a kitchen and food preparation area, toilets including a toilet for disabled people, a serving counter and seating on the ground floor and a bar, toilets, a small storeroom and a seating area at first floor.

Apart from new signage, which presumably would be the subject of a separate application if consent is needed for it, no external alterations to the building’s elevations are proposed. The proposal would involve the insertion of a mezzanine floor which would be the bar element of this proposal (Sui Generis), but this would not require planning permission for the physical works.

The application forms indicate there would be no increase or decrease in the number of people employed on the premises. Although there is a question on the application form asking about opening hours of the business, the forms indicate these are not known at this stage.


There has been a number of objections to the proposal.

Summary of Representations Received

LOSS OF USE – Loss of only decent coffee shop in Harlow with a lovely community feel used by a range of people, bars only serve a niche market and do not enhance the area or add to the community, amazing venue that is such a good local business, brings members of the community together, supports local charities, we need to support local businesses especially after a year of businesses failing, Harlow does not need more overpriced chain restaurants but small businesses all families can enjoy, such venues are friendly and accessible and friendly to all families, fantastic little local business – should be supporting them not closing them down, fine cafe with occasional local events, another bar is not required, community needs a cafe with some music; has been an incredible cafe and hub for the community; its owners are fantastic, it is a staple of the Water Gardens, food and drink has been wonderful, told events have been good, much loved community asset.

EXTERNAL IMPACTS – Bars encourage drink driving and anti-social behaviour, increased disturbance to neighbouring residential areas, loss of amenity.

The proposal will be heard on Wednesday October 7th, 2021 at 7.30pm in the Water Gardens.

Full details of application can be seen below.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

9 Comments for Plans to change Esquires into restaurant go before planning committee:

2021-10-07 08:51:50

This is the only nice coffee bar in Harlow. There are already loads of cheap bars and greasy spoon restaurants in the area. Harlow needs to encourage good quality businesses into the area, along with places that families can go to. There is nowhere in Harlow I would bother to be go to to get a coffee or lunch other than this place. With Public Health England moving into the area a lot of professionals will be moving into the surrounding area, Harlow needs to start increasing the quality of its shops, cafes and restaurants, and stop just having trashy budget places otherwise those with spending power will just go elsewhere. It is time we had a town development model that mimics Bishop Stortford, Saffron Walden or Hitchin

Susan Baker
2021-10-07 09:49:07

Carol, you are right that the town centre needs a massive upgrading to attract people to the town and to discourage people going to neighbouring towns. The new developments you mention will bring a more discerning clientele, which we sorely need. The town has been sadly run down over many years so let’s hope it will begin to improve and give us a better sense of pride.

Jake Shepherd
2021-10-07 13:37:44

With all due respect Susan, I was born and raised (and still live in Harlow) and I'm a Cambridge graduate and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. I've been going to Esquires since I was a teenager and the regular customers are perfectly upstanding citizens. No need for 'more discerning clienele' in my opinion.

Susan Baker
2021-10-07 13:53:20

Jake, you clearly miss the point. I was not referring to Esquires per se but rather the lack of decent places in the town centre and the way it has been run down over many years. The disgraceful state of the market Square filled with unspeakable drunks and louts. Just look at the towns Carol mentions by way of comparison. I am sure a member of The Royal Geographical Society should be able to find them.

2021-10-07 15:39:53

Brilliant idea, somewhere to chill, get decent food, and maybe live entertainment. As Harlow grows, we need to spread and wings and grow with it. Let's just hope the clientele,are not a boozy nuisence, and keep it as somewhere nice to go, for all ages to enjoy.

2021-10-07 19:04:28

Susan , ten years ago Harlow had shops such as Monsoon, Laura Ashley ( home) , Marks and Spencer's, Robert Dyas . Now all we have is the ghastly Primark and the dreadful Deichmann shoes for example. Why can't we have Sea Salt, Joules, White stuff, Fat Face , Waitrose , retailers that sell better quality clothes that do not fall apart after one wash and food that is not cheap rubbish.

Michael Hatton
2021-10-08 06:00:21

Never mind about Jake Shepherd, Susan, as you can see from his rather self glorifying comment about your wishing for a new venue in Harlow. He's nothing but a pompous schoolchild, and he's absolutely convinced that he knows best about everything.

2021-10-08 08:53:08

This Jake Shepherd was a unsuccessful Labour Council candidate who came up with crazy petition to scrap the cadet training at Burnt Mill. Didn’t bother to ask the pupils or parents. Was the shortest lived petition! Sounds a total woke. Best ignored.

2021-10-08 08:57:52

I go to shop in Bishop’s Stortford and Hertford precisely because these towns are attractive and welcoming and have many more shops and are not infested with the type of people denigrating our sad town centre

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *