Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

fastpedaller
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby fastpedaller » 21 Aug 2019, 2:12pm

slowster wrote:My guess is that if the cafe owner had sought permission for the change of use prior to opening the cafe, the Planning Inspector's assessment of the application would have been based on an assumed typical/average cafe with a typical customer base, and any complaints would similarly have been likely to have been based on assumptions regarding the likely impact of a cafe.

Because the application was made retrospectively, the complaints have been based not on what residents thought the impact of a (generic) cafe might be, but on what its impact has actually been. One of the complaints mentioned that the cafe was resulting in hundreds of cyclists riding through the village on a given day, which I thought initially was exageration, but which might be accurate if the cafe's customers are mostly cyclists, and that could have quite an impact on a small village, e.g. comparable to a sportive ride being routed through the village every weekend.

The fact that what the residents are complaining about is not the actual consumption of food and drink inside the cafe, but the impact of the cyclists on the residents and the village outside the cafe, is irrelevant. It's normal for planning applications to consider the wider impact, e.g. how many traffic movements a new facility might add to congested local roads or the lack of sufficient parking for the proposed use. If the cafe is routinely attracting large numbers of cyclists to gather outside prior to a ride or club run, even if not invited or encouraged to do so by the cafe owner, it's not surprising that the Planning Inspector is taking account of the complaints about the noise and disturbance caused by such groups in considering the application for the change of use and the enforcement of any decision.

I don't think it's that unusual for businesses to seek retrospective permission for such change of use, but they take a risk in doing so that they will be refused and be forced to close, and it looks in this case as if the cafe is a victim of its success. It has attracted lots of cyclists, and the large numbers have impacted residents.

Allegedly...... and the Council haven't even stated what the problem(s) are.


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mjr
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby mjr » 21 Aug 2019, 3:00pm

slowster wrote:I don't think it's that unusual for businesses to seek retrospective permission for such change of use, but they take a risk in doing so that they will be refused and be forced to close, and it looks in this case as if the cafe is a victim of its success. It has attracted lots of cyclists, and the large numbers have impacted residents.

What does seem unusual here is that a public house will be Use Class A4 (Drinking Establishment) and the application was to change use to A3 (Restaurant or Cafe), which is usually regarded as a quieter/safer/more-restrictive class, as you'd expect from the lower number. A1 is a shop. A5 is a hot-food takeaway so risking litter and more vehicle noise on top of the late-night disturbance risk from A4.

Provision of quite extensive food and sundry sales is permitted from A4, so it seems to me that an obvious action would be to retain/regain the alcohol licence(s) and operate as a cyclists' food&drink pub in line with the existing planning permission, although that would mean stopping the repair business until they can get A1 or B1 permission for an outbuilding. And I'm surprised if B1 Industrial is required for bike repairs - I strongly suspect the bike shops in the borough's high streets are doing bike repairs from A1 Shop permissions and this may be where some of the feeling/allegations of unfair treatment by the council arise, as well as the objection from the parish council that I've read includes the main complainant.

The Certificate of Lawful Use application seems to have been rather weak if you read the officer report on the link above. The application lists an agent, RPS Group. This doesn't make them look good to me.
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slowster
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby slowster » 21 Aug 2019, 3:41pm

To correct what I posted above, the cafe owner's application in 2017 was not for change of use, but rather for a Certificate of Lawfulness which if granted would have meant that there was no need to apply for planning permission for the change of use. That application was refused, and it was ruled that there had been a change of use for which planning permission must be obtained.

An Enforcement Notice was subsequently issued "to cease the use of the land and building for activities that comprise of a café, a cycle meet place, cycle repair facility and retail use, and remove from the land and building all tools, equipment and furniture that are used to facilitate and make up the workshop for cycle repairs.", and the cafe owner appealed that decision, and according to one of the letters sent to local cycling clubs, the appeal was partly successful:

- The appeal partly overturned the original decision and allowed the use as a cafe and for cycle repairs, but at the same time,

- Concerning the prohibition on it being used as a cycle meet place (and also the retail aspect) the appeal was dismissed and the original decision upheld.

So I was wrong in stating that the cafe owner still needed planning permission: the Planning Inspector who heard the appeal ruled that planning permission was not required (my apologies for the errors in my previous posts). The difficulties appear to stem from the fact that the Planning Inspector who heard the appeal and is independent of the council, has given a ruling which is akin to a judgement of Solomon. It's very straightforward if it's ruled that the building cannot be used as a cafe or as a cycle meet place, and likewise if it's ruled that it can be used as a cafe without any special restrictions, but allowing it to be used as a cafe but not as a cycle meet place was probably inevitably going to result in the current situation, because of the ambiguity and vagueness of the meaning of 'cycle meet place' in the context of cycling to a cafe.

If my revised interpretation of the situation is correct, then I have sympathy for the council, its officers and the cafe owner as well. They have received a ruling from the Secretary of State's Planning Inspector which is difficult to interpret and apply, and yet the council is presumably duty bound to enforce the ruling.

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LinusR
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby LinusR » 23 Aug 2019, 5:27pm

slowster wrote:I have sympathy for the council, its officers and the cafe owner as well. They have received a ruling from the Secretary of State's Planning Inspector which is difficult to interpret and apply, and yet the council is presumably duty bound to enforce the ruling.


No that's not quite correct. The Inspector ruled on the council's enforcement notice. As you correctly stated she part upheld the appeal. For the part she dismissed she also modified the wording:


3. The appeal is dismissed and the enforcement notice is upheld as corrected
insofar as it relates to the use of the land for retail and as a cyclists meet, and
planning permission is refused in respect of the material change of use of the
land to use for retail and as a cyclists meet on the application deemed to have
been made under s177(5) of the Act.



6. The term “meeting place” in paragraph 2 is wide in its meaning and could
encompass a range of purposes whereas the allegation is intended to target the
use of the land as a place where cyclists meet prior to departing on organised
rides and events. Clarity can be added to the notice by substituting “cyclists’
meet” [1]. This correction would also make the allegation consistent with the
requirement to cease the use as a “cycle meet place” as set out in paragraph
4.i..
7. I shall correct the notice, in these respects, under the available powers of
s176(1)(a) of the Act. I am satisfied that no injustice will be caused to either of
the main parties in me so doing.

Note 1. A “cyclists’ meet” is distinguishable from use as a café where visiting cyclists might be at the premises for the
primary purpose of taking refreshment.



The inspector is not adding anything new to the council's notice, except for a slight change in wording. The council have been heavy handed with the cafe owner and unfortunately the inspector seems to regard a group of cyclists as causing a greater nuisance than patrons arriving at or leaving the premises when it was a pub. A poor decision by both the council and the inspector.

See the decision notice: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bMVWLmcxl1aSDHGtPuS8W9zkEeia_Xie/view?usp=sharing

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LinusR
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby LinusR » 23 Aug 2019, 5:28pm

And it rumbles on...

***Update: Council refuses to answer key questions over ‘absurd’ cycle ban
Friday, 23 August

Cycling UK is demanding answers to four key questions over what it describes as an 'absurd' cycle ban at the Velolife cafe in Maidenhead.

Late last Friday, it became clear that café owner, Lee Goodwin, still faced the threat of legal action for a breach of planning rules from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council if cyclists continued to meet at the premises.

This was despite an earlier reassurance that no action would be taken against any cyclist or cycling clubs.

Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, says a number of key questions remain unanswered.

He said: “The situation currently is that the council says that it wants a café with a cycling theme to continue, but is nevertheless seeking an injunction to prevent the owner from permitting any ‘cyclists’ meets’.

“Understandably, the owner and local cycling clubs, who don’t want to jeopardise his business, would like to know what constitutes a ‘cyclists’ meet’, but despite Cycling UK’s attempts to clarify this, the council just won’t say.

“So, the council have applied to enforce an order, the terms of which it doesn’t understand and can’t clarify, but nevertheless one in which it expects Mr Goodwin to comply with in the interim. It’s absurd.”

The key questions Cycling UK is asking for answers on behalf of cyclists who wish to use the café are:

What does ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ mean?
What constitutes an organised ride?
Whether a club ride stopping off at the café will be considered by the council to be a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ or an organised ride?
If a club ride with an attendance at the café amounts to a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ as far as the council is concerned, whether that puts Mr Goodwin in breach of the terms of the draft order the Council have applied for if he allows them to attend?
In the absence of answers to those questions, Cycling UK can only inform local clubs that currently the position is that:

The council have not withdrawn the threat of legal action against Velolife.
The council still require Mr Goodwin and Velolife to comply with the terms of the draft injunction, pending a further court hearing in November.
The council will review matters mid-September.
In the interim, if the council considers that Mr Goodwin has breached the terms of the draft injunction, it may seek to bring the matter back to court to obtain an immediate injunction.
The draft order refers to ‘Cyclists’ Meets’, and the council requires Mr Goodwin to ensure that no such ‘Cyclists’ Meets’ take place at the café, but have declined to clarify further what they mean by a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’.
In the absence of such clarification, the council does not appear to have changed its position, and is proceeding on the basis that any gathering of cyclists for an organised ride (undefined) before, during or after a ride is a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ which could lead to the council bringing this matter back to court to seek an immediate injunction.
The council have been unable to provide any assurance that the mere attendance of cyclists and clubs at Velolife at the current time will not place Mr Goodwin in breach of the terms of the draft order the Council still seek.
Mr Dollimore added: “Mr Goodwin is now receiving independent legal advice concerning these proceedings, and it would therefore be inappropriate for Cycling UK to comment further on courses of action open to him.”

https://www.cyclinguk.org/news/velolife-update-council-refuses-answer-key-questions-over-absurd-cycle-ban

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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby arnsider » 23 Aug 2019, 6:03pm

Once again, I am really glad I live nowhere near London.
This utter tosh would not happen up here in civilsed parts.
We have the greatest cycling in the UK and some of the best cafes!
Hard luck you saverners!!

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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby slowster » 23 Aug 2019, 11:38pm

LinusR wrote:
Note 1. A “cyclists’ meet” is distinguishable from use as a café where visiting cyclists might be at the premises for the
primary purpose of taking refreshment.



The inspector is not adding anything new to the council's notice, except for a slight change in wording. The council have been heavy handed with the cafe owner and unfortunately the inspector seems to regard a group of cyclists as causing a greater nuisance than patrons arriving at or leaving the premises when it was a pub. A poor decision by both the council and the inspector.

I think whether the council have been heavy handed is a matter of opinion and perspective. Its original decision was that the premises should not be allowed to change from a pub to a cafe without planning permission being applied for and granted, i.e. to give the council acting on behalf of the residents the opportunity to consider properly the merits and disadvantages of the change of use. There is presumably a case to be made that the pub is an important community facility in the hamlet, and I think planning guidelines now intentionally make it less likely that planning permission will be given to such applications in an attempt to reduce the rate at which many such pubs are closing. The council has been fairly consistant inasmuch as it had already refused several applications to convert the premises into private residences. It's possible that the pub is simply not economically viable (although many such pubs are tied houses and I think that the nature of tied house contracts distorts the true picture of whether a pub is genuinely viable with the right ownership and management).

The Planning Inspector's decision to overrule the council presumably means that the village has probably lost the pub for good, and I suspect it is the only one in the village.

I think that in stating that the "inspector is not adding anything new to the council's notice, except for a slight change in wording" you are being somewhat disingenuous. The Enforcement Notice was intended to stop the use of the premises as a cafe and all the other associated uses. In that respect it was logical to include a prohibition on the owner allowing/permitting/encouraging cyclists to use the cafe as a meeting place, e.g. as a start point for a club run.

As I see it, that restriction on its own is likely to be unworkable if the premises are allowed to be used as a cafe. A cyclist's meet is clearly NOT "distinguishable from use as a café where visiting cyclists might be at the premises for the primary purpose of taking refreshment", hence the case has attracted so much publicity and the involvement of CUK and BC. Maybe if planning permission had had to be applied for and there had been a proper hearing, this issue would have been better addressed and understood, and residents would have had the opportunity to make submissions to the council.

The council's Planning Officer's assessment states that "4 letters were received from neighbouring occupiers. Comments from these have been included which cover matters relevant to the determination of this certificate and not those that relate to planning considerations." My interpretation is that means that the impact on the village and local residents of the change of use has never been properly and fully considered, because that would only be considered as part of a hearing for change of use, which has been bypassed by the Planning Inspector's decision to overturn the council's decision and issue a Certificate of Lawfulness.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Wanlock Dod » 25 Aug 2019, 7:13am

It looks like they are trying to raise enough funds for legal fees so that they aren’t forced out of business before they have a hearing on the issue later in the year.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/savevelolife?utm_source=facebook

Grandad
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Grandad » 25 Aug 2019, 12:45pm

Should Cycling UK take an active role in this -or are they already doing so more than was mentioned in the recent weekly e-mail message?

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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby atoz » 1 Sep 2019, 11:37am

There is more than a flavour of "Clause 28" about all this. Those of us who remember all about that will be all too familar with it all. Maybe that will be the next thing with some other councils...being against "intentionally promoting cycling meets". Of course some councils discourage cycling on the quiet in other ways, such as Public Space Protection Orders.

Don't know about anyone else, but I get the feeling some people don't like us. Maybe the way round it is to meet secretly, dressed in black at coded locations...but of course that's been done before. My late father dated back to the days of black tights and alpaca jackets..think I still have his old NCU cloth badge somewhere.

There's a great quote from Michael Hutchinson's book Re: Cyclists where someone being interviewed said"The bloody North Roaders. if it hadn't been for them and their forelock tugging we'd have had a Tour champion a hundred years ago". I get the feeling some of our local authorities are still living in that era.

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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby st599_uk » 30 Sep 2019, 11:13am

slowster wrote:As I see it, that restriction on its own is likely to be unworkable if the premises are allowed to be used as a cafe. A cyclist's meet is clearly NOT "distinguishable from use as a café where visiting cyclists might be at the premises for the primary purpose of taking refreshment", hence the case has attracted so much publicity and the involvement of CUK and BC. Maybe if planning permission had had to be applied for and there had been a proper hearing, this issue would have been better addressed and understood, and residents would have had the opportunity to make submissions to the council.


Presumably it would be distinguishable if the visiting cyclists:
  • were there outside of opening hours
  • were observed to not be partaking of refreshments

Also, I'm assuming a "cyclists cafe" whilst providing extra services of interest to a cyclist (decent security parking, puncture repair kits) is for all legal intents and purposes a cafe open to all members of the general public? So even though the village may have lost a pub, they have still gained somewhere they can go and meet other villagers.
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby CyclingGuy » 30 Sep 2019, 8:33pm

st599_uk wrote:
slowster wrote:
Also, I'm assuming a "cyclists cafe" whilst providing extra services of interest to a cyclist (decent security parking, puncture repair kits) is for all legal intents and purposes a cafe open to all members of the general public? So even though the village may have lost a pub, they have still gained somewhere they can go and meet other villagers.


As a regular visitor I can confirm that it is indeed open to everyone there are often walkers, and other locals there. They provide free treats and water for dogs so I can only assume that members of the Kennel club will be the next to be banned.
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