RESTAURANT owners built a glass wall around a monument without seeking planning permission.

The move has sparked backlash from residents and traders in the area who have told bosses at the yet-to-open Coppa Club restaurant to “tear down that wall”.

On Wednesday The Argus reported that traders thought the glass wall which currently surrounds the Dolphin Fountain in Brighton Square nade it “like a prison” and watching people eat there “will be like a zoo”.

Yesterday, a Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman revealed it has “not granted planning permission for this” and has “had no prior discussions with the Coppa Club or the landlord on the matter”.

The Argus:

Peter Fairfax, who works in the area, said the wall “challenged the character of The Lanes”.

The 29-year-old Hove resident said: “It’s a really unusual place in Brighton which people are attracted to, it was a really special place in the city.

“So there is something particularly unsavoury about closing off the area without permission.”

Peter visited the Plant Room Cafe which is overshadowed by the wall and said the new structure seriously affected the look of the area.

He said: “The cafe used to have such nice views of the fountain but now you are just looking at this very ugly glass wall.”

The Argus:

Joseph Carr, director of operations at The Plant Room, said “staff are furious” the wall has been built. The 33-year-old said: “It takes away from our outdoor seating area.

“The fountain has been a focal point for kids and tourists for ages. This was one of the few open spaces in The Lanes and, with this wall, it just isn’t any more.

“It’s really disruptive.

“We have had people with pushchairs really struggle to get through the crowds because the path has been made narrower.

“And when the umbrellas are up it completely blocks the sun out, it’s done with no consideration for anyone around it.

“It takes over the square.”

The Argus:

Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning enforcement team will now investigate the glass wall.

A spokeswoman said: “It will need to be determined whether or not planning permission is required.

“The square is private land not public highway.”

A spokeswoman for Coppa Club said: “We are passionate about understanding and integrating into our local communities and we’re delighted to be opening in Brighton.

“We’re working with local food and drink suppliers who will feature on our menu, sourcing artwork from local Brighton artists for our interiors, as well as recruiting locally to create jobs.

“We understand the heritage of the square and its importance to the local community. Our aim is to create a space where people can enjoy alfresco dining all year round with a design that celebrates the dolphin fountain as its focal point. We have gone through extensive design planning and worked closely with the owners of the square to ensure our designs improve and add value.”