A POPULAR city centre pub has asked for planning permission rules to be altered after confusion around its beer garden furniture.

The White Rabbit pub was given the go-ahead by Oxford City Council in 2018 to build a new beer garden into the car park in Friars Entry.

But the conditions meant that any garden furniture like tables, benches, chairs, metal railings and umbrellas needed to be given the thumbs up by the council first.

The pub managers thought they were doing this when they sent pictures of furniture and asked advice on fencing from the council before they even paid for it.

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In emails from January 2019 shared on the new application form, bosses at the pub say: “We are so worried about the ongoing and increasingly obvious issues we have with the homeless people begging, ‘mine-sweeping’ drinks off unoccupied tables and sleeping in our current garden (at the moment we have between one and three overnight guests) we have suggested fencing similar to those in the Westgate but you preferred a less manicured look so we have agreed on scaffolding planks.”

Council inspectors then ask for the height of the planks to be changed to 1.4m instead of 1.8m to fit in with regulations.

More emails were then sent about the pub furniture and the colours, prices and how it would weather.

In the new documents the developer explained: “the local authority had design influence through email correspondence stating ‘that’s fine’, ‘I have no objection’ and ‘that design is also acceptable’.

“Therefore the applicant was surprised to hear in August 2019 that the approved, in writing by the local authority, tables, benches, chairs, metal railings and umbrellas, were in breach of the planning conditions.”

The pub has asked for them to be removed retrospectively.

To read the plans in full go to the Oxford City Council planning portal online and search for 20/00747/VAR.