THE safety of street cafes was raised by councillors as they came to decide on plans for one to be created at a town centre pub.

Councillors on the planning development sub committee were deciding on whether to allow plans for the outside area on Hilden Square at The White Hart, on Sankey Street.

Stars Pubs and Bars had put in the plans for the pub to be allowed to use the council owned space for its extension plans.

But chairman of the committee Clr Tony McCarthy (LAB - Rixton and Woolston) raised the issues surrounding pavement cafes and the impact on safety in the town centre.

He told the Town Hall meeting on Wednesday: "We had a debate in licensing about pavement cafes. One of the concerns we had on that committee is what we are going to see in future."

He added while councillors were in favour of a cafe culture for the town centre they were concerned about people drinking outside with extra furniture on the street which could be used should trouble start.

But licensee Neil Sparkes said: "We put midnight in our opening hour plan because we close then, but we are normally done at around 10.30pm. And 46 per cent of our customers buy food usually.

"When the weather is decent people choose to eat outside, that's the kind of people we wish to attract."

Clr Andy Heaver (LAB - Great Sankey North) questioned whether councillors should put a restriction on the time the area could be used to 10.30pm.

But Clr Kevin Bennett asked what kind of restrictions were on other street pavements in other areas of the town.

The councillors were also told the licensing committee would still have to grant a pavement cafe licence and any reduced hours set by the planning committee could conflict with those from licensing.

Clr Sheila Woodyatt (CON - Lymm) said: "I think this sort of facility is an asset to the town and I think we should approve it."

Councillors eventually agreed not to set a time limit on the outdoor area and unanimously approved the scheme.