A POPULAR country pub is hoping to erect an outdoor marquee to help the business recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fox & Hounds in Sproston has submitted a planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council to put up the covering on an existing patio area.

Due to Covid restrictions, indoor seating at the Holmes Chapel Road pub has been 'significantly reduced'.

With outdoor seating dependant on the weather, installing a marquee would allow the pub to serve customers outside all year long and provide more capacity as restrictions ease further.

In a design and access statement, submitted on behalf of the pub, it says:"The internal seating capacity of the restaurant has been significantly reduced due to Covid-19 restrictions.

"The marquee is positioned on the existing paved patio area which would usually be occupied by outdoor tables for drinking and dining use.

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"This use of this external area is totally reliant on good weather conditions and reservations are not taken for this area for this reason.

"The marquee enables all year-round use providing protection to the customers from the weather.

"Sections of the marquee front and sides can be removed or opened to comply with outdoor dining criteria under current regulations.

"For the foreseeable future and possibly beyond the lifting of restrictions the applicant has a commitment to their guests to continue to ensure a safe distance is maintained between them and they are aware that after such a long time under restrictions guests will not immediately feel safe and want to sit close to others.

"Feedback has been received from regular guests confirming a reluctance to be seated close to others. The pub intends to continue long term with the recommended safe distance to ensure the comfort and relaxation of their guests.

"Despite huge financial pressure in maintaining a business through the pandemic the applicant has been able to retain all the staff through the furlough scheme and now intends to provide future job security by retaining capacity and providing a facility for small functions.

"For the long term and if restrictions are fully lifted extra seating capacity would be available through the increase in covered area enabling the business to fully recover."

The council has yet to make a decision on the plans, while neighbours have until May 7 to comment on them.

To view the plans, visit the council's planning portal and use reference 21/01131/FUL.