SINGAPORE - Romantic waterside dining is here to stay, the authorities said on Sunday - despite new guidelines designed to stop too many tables from cluttering up the banks of the Singapore River.
Outdoor seating is still allowed within the Clarke Quay Conservation Area, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) told The Straits Times. However, restaurants outside this zone will need to remove their tables that are right beside the river.
The URA issued its clarification following reports that romantic meals by the Singapore River will become a "thing of the past".
It said its new guidelines - which cover "outdoor refreshment areas" - in Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay aim to free up space for pedestrians.
"Over time, we note there was considerable spillage of tables and chairs, limiting public access to the riverfront and obstructing views of the river," said a URA spokesman.
"These were taken into consideration for the latest review."
Diners will still be able to sit at waterside tables beneath the colourful canopies dotting the Clarke Quay Conservation Area, which includes River Valley Road, North Boat Quay and Tan Tye Place.
But eateries beyond this zone - such as Brewerkz, Jumbo Seafood Restaurant and Cafe Iguana at Riverside Point - will have to leave a 6m-wide path for pedestrians.
Singapore River One, the company in charge of the area's day- to-day management, said it understood the rationale and long-term goals behind the new guidelines.
"However, we also understand that some businesses will be affected," said its executive director Ty Tabing. "Hence, we will do our best to assist in communications between our members and the URA."
Even so, talk of the changes to riverside dining has worried some tenants. "We would be very upset and disappointed if riverside seating was taken away in Boat Quay," said Ms Felomina D. Rulloda, managing director of Charlie's Paradiso.
"One could speculate that it could be to spruce up the facade, but there are less drastic options to achieve this, such as standardising the canopies to give them a more even feel as has been done in Clark Quay."
The URA said it would monitor the impact of the guidelines.
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