A NEWPORT cafe owner says he was stopped by the council from putting tables and chairs outside his business for customers to sit in the sun.

Atlantica Café Bar opened in Market Street on Saturday and owner Robert Stewart bought aluminium tables and chairs to put outside on the pavement.

But Newport City Council told him he would have to take them inside until he could obtain official permission.

Mr Stewart, 37, from Pill, claims the tables left plenty of room for pedestrians and cars, not even coming out as far as the lamppost.

He said: “We had them out on Sunday and Monday and instantly it was a massive hit.

People want to use them. It’s what people want to do on a sunny day.

“It’s two small aluminium tables and six small aluminium chairs. They’re very basic. They don’t block any traffic.”

Mr Stewart said he was disappointed by the decision: “I can’t believe it and I’m quite shocked.”

A spokesman for Newport City Council said: “Businesses who wish to put tables and chairs outside their premises must apply to the city council for permission.

“Anumber of factors have to be taken into account including the safety of pedestrians and the impact on other businesses in the area.

“While the council wants to assist traders wherever possible, especially at this difficult economic time, safety is a paramount concern.

“In this instance, we responded to a complaint in respect of an obstruction on the highway.

“However, we would invite the owner to make a formal application to allow the full details to be considered and assessed.”