CELEB chef Mark Hix has launched a furious campaign to save his restaurant balcony from being torn down.
The restauranteur has vowed to fight on after councillors ordered him to remove an outdoor seating area at his seafood restaurant by the end of March.
But Mr Hix said the removal of the deck would put the future of the restaurant on the Dorset coast in “serious jeopardy” and result in a significant number of job losses.
The chef has been caught up in a long-running dispute over the £20,000 wooden structure at the Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis.
Hix, 60, took advantage of relaxed government rules to open the deck during the pandemic.
But councillors voted for the structure to be removed at an extraordinary meeting of Lyme Regis Town Council on 25 January.
The deck was built on the council-owned Lister Gardens, and the chef has been trying to reach an agreement to rent the land on a permanent basis.
Permission for the structure initially expired in September but was then extended until 31 March 2023.
The chef had to reapply to keep the outdoor deck in place, but councillors recommended the application be refused.
They said this was on the grounds it was only meant to be a temporary Covid support measure and that it encroached onto public space.
In a letter to Dorset council seen by trade magazine The Caterer, Hix said the deck’s removal would put the future of the restaurant in “serious jeopardy”.
He also blasted the council for sparking was could result in “a significant number of job losses”.
The chef has since launched a petition calling for the council to reconsider its decision.
Hix blasted on Instagram: “Enough is enough. I was ready to give up, feeling utterly deflated and beaten.
“But after a team meeting this morning – we decided we won’t go down without a fight.
“Thank you team. At the last Lyme Regis Town Council meeting, seven councillors, six of whom have never set foot in my restaurant had the power to enforce the removal of the deck area at @theoysterandfishhouse which puts our business into a very dangerous position.”
Hix added that if enough people signed the petition ahead of 8 February it would be discussed at the next council meeting on 15 February.
“It’s shocking. Genuinely shocking. We have been inundated with the most amazing messages from so many people, wanting to help support and save our deck…So now is your chance to help,” he wrote.