It is not so. The municipal police even came back Thursday evening, found that the crime tables were still in place, and issued a second fine to the restaurant. Benjamin Guichard says he is overwhelmed. “Two hours before, I was meeting at the town hall to fix this story. I thought we had found common ground, that the relationship had calmed down…” But it is clear that no. And he doesn’t intend to give up. “With the terrace, I make two to three times my turnover compared to the rest of the year. » It’s even more valid this summer, where the weather and the return of foreign tourists benefit traders.
If he sticks to what he is, in fact, authorized for the moment, he can only have tables according to the facade of the restaurant. 20m2twenty covers, while the terrace which extends over part of the Place du Palet allows it to reach 80. He insists: “This terrace is an essential tool, it’s my livelihood. Any restaurateur who offers one will tell you that. » Fine or not, he does not intend to dislodge a single one of his tables.
One particular point raises questions. Why didn’t the police report it sooner? “While we are already almost at the end of summer…” He puts it in relation to a clash he describes with a resident living near the restaurant. “As she has a garage, she does have a right of way, which we have always respected. But the menu board must have got in the way a bit one day… She contacted the town hall several times. »
An agreement that was never found
The version of Philippe Vergnaud, trade assistant at the City of Angoulême, is a little different. “We just floated ideas when we went to see him, and he always took it for granted. » No authorization has been issued. Because once put down on paper and compared to the safety rules, not one of these ideas was feasible. “You have to keep a certain passage for pedestrians, people with reduced mobility, firefighters…” Last Thursday’s meeting did not change anything. “I told him that he had to renew his request, re-explaining his reasons and his proposals, and that we would study it within two weeks… Impossible to do better. »
We met a lot, we went there, but we never found the right solution.
For Philippe Vergnaud, the restaurateur’s confusion could well date back to 2020 and the end of confinement. “We, at that time, exchanged with the restaurateurs and cafeteria owners so that they extend their terrace, so that they have a sufficient number of covers while respecting the distance. »
But the case of La Plancha has always proved problematic. “The restaurant is located at a crossroads, in an angle. We met a lot, we went there several times, but we never found the right solution. » Result: several letters were sent, the last dated August 5th. A few days before the visit of the municipal police.
Oversights of restaurateurs every year
In the other streets of Angoulême, arm wrestling takes place every summer on the terraces. “We’re not talking about abuse either, corrects Philippe Vergnaud. But we carried out a check a fortnight ago and noted a few shortcomings. A blind not raised when it should be in rue Massillon, for example. There, the firefighters cannot pass without tearing it off. These are basic things, but slow down professionals at times when every minute counts. »
Overall, the teams mainly found themselves faced with restaurateurs who had simply not renewed their request for terraces, “thinking it was tacit”. This is the case of Jardin de Kashmir, rue Raymond-Audour, “who is typically one of those who have forgotten. Once we tell them, they regularize. » Others also overflow a little – even a lot. “We came across a case that had grown 20 m2 ! But it’s the only one. Most often, a table is added, punctually, when a group of fifteen arrives, for example. »
It’s all about fit. Of “Finding the right balance between the needs of shopkeepers and pedestrians who still want to move freely. Look, a cafe owner who wants to expand on the Champ-de-Mars, we would ask fewer questions. In the streets of Vieil-Angoulême, narrow and protected, one must be very attentive. If we have the slightest concern, we will pay for it. »
Law of terraces: a supervised procedure
The method is well established. Every year, as summer approaches, the town hall of Angoulême responds to requests from restaurateurs and cafeteria owners wishing to install a terrace. “Knowing that you can have an annual authorization and a seasonal one. And that it is possible to combine the two », specifies Philippe Vergnaud, assistant to the trade at the City. Once the requests have been received, the technical services examine the files. Then those still in the race pass in front of the “terraces commission”: it brings together representatives of the town hall, but also the Buildings of France, the firefighters, the unions of restaurateurs and the associations of traders, as well as the CCI. “And it’s not just during the summer season. The committee meets at least two or three times a year. »