Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

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

Postby GranvilleThomas » 10 Aug 2019, 8:08pm

al_yrpal wrote:Living in that area for many years I am aware that it is populated by many tiresome old farts who no doubt are very influential on the council. Disturb their peace with a gathering of lycra clad oiks at your peril... In the long run the cycling fratenernity will triumph.

Al


I tend to agree with you here and the fact that the Council have sent letters to local cycling clubs advising them of what and what not to do there, will be their undoing, because the relevant law states that "other than the owner" (of the cafe) an enforcement notice only applies to people who have "control of or an interest in the land".

It is simply absurd for the Council to suggest that they could take any action against any cycling club's regarding this matter.

It is an abuse of the Council's powers for them to be writing letters to local cycling clubs in this matter, as will be soon revealed.

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

Postby LinusR » 10 Aug 2019, 9:26pm

Zulu Eleven wrote:
The inspector qualified it in her decision with the note:

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.


My interpretation would be that in saying that she was clearly excluding any gathering or group who’s primary reason for stopping there was refreshment - which of course is pretty much exactly why a club run would actually stop there.


The inspector is of course using "planning speak". She refers to "primary" and "ancillary" uses. So in the inspector's view the action of a cycling club stopping at a cafe and having a meal is ancillary to the activity of a "cyclists meet" - it is just a means to an end. Cycling clubs organise "cyclists meets". Visiting cyclists, in the inspectors view, are those individuals or a group of friends who are not cycling with a club but who stop there for refreshment as an end in itself - a destination.

She stated that "the appellant argues that the café is the primary use and that retail activities, cycle repairs and cyclists’ meets are ancillary to it".

So in her view a "club run" stopping for refreshment is a minor part of a larger activity. She clearly does not understand that the primary activity of all cycling clubs is to get to the cafe. Eating cake is the primary activity; cycling to the cafe is ancillary. She clearly views cycling clubs as a nuisance, but individuals cycling to a cafe as a lesser evil.

Pilot Pete
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Pilot Pete » 11 Aug 2019, 10:10am

I’ve written to all the elected councillors. If you fancy doing the same, here are their email addresses;

cllr.baldwin@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.baskerville@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.bateson@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.bhangra@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.bond@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.bowden@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.brar@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.delcampo@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.cannon@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.carroll@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.clark@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.coppinger@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.c.dacosta@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.dacosta@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.Davey@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.davies@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.dudley@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.haseler@rbwm.gov.uk, Cllr.Hill@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.hilton@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.hunt@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.johnson@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.jones@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.knowles@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.larcombe@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.luxton@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.mcwilliams@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.muir@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.Price@rbwm.gov.uk, cllrS.rayner@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.reynolds@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.sharpe@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.shelim@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.singh@rbwm.gov.uk, Cllr.Stimson@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.story@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.targowski@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.taylor@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.tisi@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.walters@rbwm.gov.uk, cllr.werner@rbwm.gov.uk



This is my rather long winded letter!



Dear sirs and madams
I refer to this letter sent to a several local cycling clubs by Arron Hitchen
Senior Planning Enforcement Officer;

https://road.cc/sites/default/files/let ... 0Windsor... (link is external)

What on earth are the council thinking trying to ban cyclists from meeting in a cafe? Just listen to yourselves - trying to ban a group of cyclists from gathering, meeting, riding from or to, or stopping at local cafe? Has your council gone mad?

Apart from the fact that individuals who have nothing to do with the ownership of land cannot be in breech of planning rules, how on earth do you think this could be enforced? How will you prove in a court of law that any of said cyclists had actually organised a ‘meet’ of some kind? Would you seriously consider spending tax payers money on pursuing such a claim? And what if one cyclist just happened to turn up at the cafe and someone he knew from his cycling club happened to be there? Would you pursue that folly in court too? What happens if they all dismount 50yds from the cafe and walk? They then become pedestrians. How would you deal with that?

Just what exactly is the council policy on bullying? I assume there is one? Because that letter is not just heavy handed, completely unenforceable in law but also quite inappropriate in its bullying, threatening tone. Are you councillors all happy having your names associated with it, or will at least one of you rein in this out of control nonsense?

It just shows the ignorance of the writer because this letter is likely to have the exact opposite effect - this story has hit the national cycling press - it will encourage more cyclists to visit Velolife in support of this worthy little business which has turned around a failed pub and will no doubt be paying significant business rates and taxes into your local economy. As I understand it the nimbyism has come from the former pub owner who lives behind the premises with the shared access. You couldn’t make it up - a former pub landlord complaining about noise during the day on the site of his former pub!

And besides, did ANY of the elected councillors actually bother to visit the premises to ascertain the validity of the complaint that has lead to this heavy handed approach? And did they seriously think that an ill informed legal approach through planning law would be an appropriate way to respond? Are you happy with this statement “The Council are currently investigating the position with regard to criminal offences.” Seriously? Criminal offences, what like talking, laughing and joking on a Sunday morning before having a coffee and a slice of cake?

Your council is the laughing stock of the cycling community. Don’t think that is very many people? Just a fringe group who wear Lycra and can’t afford cars? 5.3 million people aged over 16 cycle at least once a week. Check for yourself https://www.cyclinguk.org/statistics (link is external)

I can only assume that for equality you will be sending ‘enforcement notices’ to all residents who have kids who play out in the street making noise during the day as well, and all lawn mower owners, and car drivers who have the audacity to use their noisy cars on the road disturbing the peace, and every business that involves using power tools in public places because it would be completely unreasonable for them to be used DURING THE DAY.

Your council has hit the headlines and the back tracking and over explaining via ‘clarifications’ on twitter and the like is making a laughing stock of your elected representatives. Get a grip - you can’t send threatening letters like this to law abiding citizens and residents based on dubious legal grounds yet say that cyclists can still visit the cafe. Do what you are elected to do and take control of these planning officers who obviously have a hatred of cyclists and have pandered to a nimby resident.

Invest your efforts in tackling the real problems and troublemakers amongst your community. You should be encouraging cycling as it is the ‘golden nugget’ in terms of healthy living, sustainable transport and environmental saviour.

Yours sincerely

Peter Smith
British Cycling Coach and husband of former Mayor and now Cycling and Walking Champion of our council.

Zulu Eleven
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Zulu Eleven » 11 Aug 2019, 10:29am

LinusR wrote:
Zulu Eleven wrote:
The inspector qualified it in her decision with the note:

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.


My interpretation would be that in saying that she was clearly excluding any gathering or group who’s primary reason for stopping there was refreshment - which of course is pretty much exactly why a club run would actually stop there.


The inspector is of course using "planning speak". She refers to "primary" and "ancillary" uses. So in the inspector's view the action of a cycling club stopping at a cafe and having a meal is ancillary to the activity of a "cyclists meet" - it is just a means to an end. Cycling clubs organise "cyclists meets". Visiting cyclists, in the inspectors view, are those individuals or a group of friends who are not cycling with a club but who stop there for refreshment as an end in itself - a destination.

She stated that "the appellant argues that the café is the primary use and that retail activities, cycle repairs and cyclists’ meets are ancillary to it".

So in her view a "club run" stopping for refreshment is a minor part of a larger activity. She clearly does not understand that the primary activity of all cycling clubs is to get to the cafe. Eating cake is the primary activity; cycling to the cafe is ancillary. She clearly views cycling clubs as a nuisance, but individuals cycling to a cafe as a lesser evil.


I disagree that that was her intent/interpretation, as she states in paragraph 6 that:

“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.”

And it’s clear that this is the ‘nuisance’ that the condition is designed to abate. Not the usage of the cafe and it’s curtilage as a place to stop and take refreshment during the course of a ride by groups of cyclists - essentially, that’s not a ‘cyclists meet’ its a ‘cafe stop’

So in effect, the inspector says (IMO)

Meet other cyclists at the railway station and ride to the cafe for lunch = primary reason for visiting establishment is refreshment = good
Meet other cyclists at the railway station, go for a ride, stop off at the cafe for lunch on the way = primary reason for visiting establishment is refreshment = good
Ride from home and meet other cyclists at the cafe for lunch = primary reason for visiting establishment is refreshment = good
Meet other cyclists at the cafe, go for a bike ride, then go home = primary reason for visiting establishment is to meet for a bike ride = bad
Meet other cyclists at the cafe, go for a bike ride, then go for lunch afterwards = primary reason for visiting establishment is to meet for a bike ride = bad


IMO its the council rather than the inspector who has conflated the different primary purposes - The council is saying they are all ‘cyclists meets’ regardless of primary purpose for visiting the stablishment

Pilot Pete
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Pilot Pete » 11 Aug 2019, 10:53am

None of which is enforceable against ANY cycling club or individual. They have no invested interest in the premises, they are merely visitors and this is Planning Law remember, which can only be enforced against the owner or those with some sort of interest in the premises.

This planning enforcement officer (a employee of the council, not an elected member) seems to have gone way above his station trying to bully cycling clubs and intimidate them and their members by implying that they will be in some way breaking the law and using extremely intimidating language such as ‘investigating to see if any criminal activity has taken place’. It is shocking and he needs reprimanding, reminding of his remit and sent on an anti bullying course along with some training regarding the law relating to planning and its limits. He should at least be forced to write a contrite apology to all the clubs he has sent this letter to explaining the error of his ways.

PP

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

Postby brynpoeth » 11 Aug 2019, 2:22pm

Plus 99 for writing to dozens of councillors, one wonders whether all of them read all their mails

I should have composed a short punchy letter
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

Pilot Pete
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Pilot Pete » 11 Aug 2019, 6:08pm

Give him his due, I received a reply!

“Dear Sir,

Thanks for your email. This is an important issue and I know the Leader, Cllr Simon Dudley, is seeking and working hard to find a solution per his social media comments earlier today. I am coordinating with Simon and will work with him on this matter given my Lead Member portfolio.

Thank you.

Stuart

Cllr Stuart Carroll
Boyn Hill Ward, Maidenhead
Lead Member Adult Social Care, Children Services and Health”

So my reply to all councillors was;

Dear Cllr Carroll

Thank you for taking the time to reply which I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad to see that the management speak course has been attended and passed with flying colours. I suspect that email will be the sum of action taken; you’ve replied, stated ‘just how important an issue’ it is and committed to taking it up with the portfolio holder.

Remember, my wife serves on a county council and even she was aghast that a letter such as that was sent out to local cycling clubs, so the platitudes are worthless. Accept how wrong it was, on record, correct it and get that officer to make a public apology for trying to bully and threaten decent citizens whilst coming down on the side of a disgruntled, envious resident who simply hates the fact someone has made a successful business in the premises where his failed. You should see through this vexatious complaint and treat it for what it is; baseless. Just exactly how much noise do you think a bunch of middle aged cyclists (which I bet is the majority) actually make DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS compared to lawnmowers and power tools and cars and trucks. Unbelievable.

I would expect the Lead Member for Health to be strongly defending the rights of cyclists and indeed encouraging such activity as it has been shown again and again in government surveys to be, alongside walking, the easiest form of exercise for non-sporting members of the public to partake in. Motorised vehicles are killing us and the obesity epidemic is costing all tax payers increasingly unsustainable sums and drowning the NHS.

You should be ashamed of yourself if you are not vehemently defending this cafe owner and encouraging more cycling. Did the Portfolio Holder ever consider that simply asking everyone who congregates at the cafe to simply ‘keep it down’, if indeed there is actually a problem? I suspect that balance hasn’t come into it at any stage - no matter what ‘enforcement’ you take the complainant won’t be happy until the business is shut down and he smugly laughs at having completely hoodwinked your council.

Sincerely

Peter Smith

I suspect if plenty of cyclists engage them in a similar way it will really push it up the agenda and something WILL be done. That’s how the political game works.

Pilot Pete
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Pilot Pete » 11 Aug 2019, 11:46pm

Seems like I’m making a few waves...

Dear Sir,

Thanks for your email.

I have been away most of last week on urgent family business of a highly personal nature. Hence why I needed to get updated on this issue and understand the facts. I have spoken with Simon today, cutting short my family business, in order to get fully appraised and updated on this situation. Thus, no management speak but rather I was simply trying to understand how on earth this issue has come about as it does seem rather perplexing and bizarre. I always pride myself on knowing the full facts, but also acknowledging emails and correspondence quickly, and I will be seeking a full understanding of this situation as I am very concerned.

For the record, I am a big fan and supporter of cycling, and have actually said this many times on the public record over the last few years. I, like Simon, want this resolved per Simon's social media remarks, and I have asked for the Managing Director to present me with the full facts upon his return to the office, as has Simon as Leader. I will also be speaking with my Cabinet colleague for Planning, David Coppinger, given this matter falls in his portfolio to express my deep concerns and worries.

Best wishes,

Stuart

Cllr Stuart Carroll
Boyn Hill Ward, Maidenhead
Lead Member Adult Social Care, Children Services and Health

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

Postby LinusR » 16 Aug 2019, 2:22pm

Some progress, it seems https://www.cyclinguk.org/news/velolife-update-cycle-clubs-can-resume-cafe-stops

[edit] but then again, no. Latest from Velolife

I have now had official confirmation from @RBWM that the injunction that is sought against @thevelolife is still in place. Club rides may NOT use us for cafe stops. Below is the exact wording.

https://twitter.com/thevelolife/status/1162375882532634624

[another edit]

This case has got more and more bizarre today.

A few hours ago Cycling UK and British Cycling issued a joint statement with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It was a very positive statement which you can read here https://www.cyclinguk.org/news/velolife-update-cycle-clubs-can-resume-cafe-stops (NB it has been updated)

But a few hours later due to the above statement from Velolife via twitter, Cycling UK offered a partial correction

Since issuing the [joint statement] there have been some further developments which would appear counter to the positive engagement we've had so far with @RBWM . Together with @BritishCycling we are trying to get to the bottom of this, and will look to issue an updated statement shortly.


Cycling UK then updated its original statement:

"It is therefore incredibly frustrating and disappointing to have to issue this further statement a few hours later, following discussions with Velolife’s owner Lee Goodwin this afternoon and lengthy email exchanges with the Council.

"Cycling UK was informed a few hours ago that the Council had informed Mr Goodwin today that, notwithstanding their statement that no action would be taken against clubs attending Velolife, Mr Goodwin still needed to ensure that clubs did not use the café as a stop before, during or after organised rides, and that to do so would breach the terms of the draft injunction the Council has sought.

"Accordingly, Cycling UK are obliged to clarify their position, and notify local cycling clubs that whilst their attendance at Velolife will not lead to enforcement action against the club, any such attendance may be considered a breach of planning requirements by RBWM and lead to further action against Mr Goodwin.”


https://www.cyclinguk.org/news/velolife-update-cycle-clubs-can-resume-cafe-stops-put-cafe-risk-if-they-do

Screenshot from 2019-08-16 17-46-44.png
Last edited by LinusR on 16 Aug 2019, 5:47pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby Tinpotflowers » 16 Aug 2019, 5:32pm

If a group of cycle club mate went to the café dressed in cycling garb advertised a walk on the club website to start, end or to act as lunch stop would they be breaking the injunction?

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

Postby ratherbeintobago » 16 Aug 2019, 8:03pm

Tinpotflowers wrote:If a group of cycle club mate went to the café dressed in cycling garb advertised a walk on the club website to start, end or to act as lunch stop would they be breaking the injunction?


AIUI no, the club wouldn’t, but the owner would by allowing it to happen.

There has been much discussion elsewhere that the council’s position is unlikely to stand up in court, not least because of alleged COIs of some of the councillors involved. However, the business has to get to Nov without being shut down first…

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

Postby Tinpotflowers » 16 Aug 2019, 8:50pm

ratherbeintobago wrote:
Tinpotflowers wrote:If a group of cycle club mate went to the café dressed in cycling garb advertised a walk on the club website to start, end or to act as lunch stop would they be breaking the injunction?


AIUI no, the club wouldn’t, but the owner would by allowing it to happen.

There has been much discussion elsewhere that the council’s position is unlikely to stand up in court, not least because of alleged COIs of some of the councillors involved. However, the business has to get to Nov without being shut down first…

So who can use the cafe? Could a group of ramblers use it?

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

Postby ratherbeintobago » 16 Aug 2019, 8:55pm

Tinpotflowers wrote:
ratherbeintobago wrote:
Tinpotflowers wrote:If a group of cycle club mate went to the café dressed in cycling garb advertised a walk on the club website to start, end or to act as lunch stop would they be breaking the injunction?


AIUI no, the club wouldn’t, but the owner would by allowing it to happen.

There has been much discussion elsewhere that the council’s position is unlikely to stand up in court, not least because of alleged COIs of some of the councillors involved. However, the business has to get to Nov without being shut down first…

So who can use the cafe? Could a group of ramblers use it?


Yes, or, say, motorcyclists. But not a “cyclists’ meet” to use the awful terminology of the letter from RBWM council.

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

Postby slowster » 16 Aug 2019, 9:04pm

As I understand it there is currently no injunction in force. The council has applied for one, and a court date has been scheduled for November for the application to be considered. It might be that the council/planning inspector has exceeded their powers and are simply not entitled to seek such restrictions on the cafe, in which case the application will be thrown out.

However, if the council is acting within its powers to ask for such restrictions, then presumably the court will then consider the merits of the application based on the evidence submitted by both sides and on the law as it applies to such cases. Either the council already has evidence of 'anti-social' or similar behaviour by club riders provided by the complainants, e.g. possibly a just a written submission or maybe video evidence, or it is seeking to impose the injunction as a precaution against the likelihood of such behaviour occurring in future.

I've seen it suggested that one or more clubs or groups have used the cafe as an early start meeting point, e.g. maybe even arriving and gathering outside the cafe before it opens for a club run. A large group of people standing around and chatting might be quite noisy, even if individually they are not loud, and it's not unusual for there to be one or two people in any group who seem to be incapable of speaking without doing so loudly.

Probably the worst thing cyclists - and club riders especially - could do now from the perspective of the cafe owner, would be to seek to cock a snook at the neighbour that has complained by meeting up there en masse and noisily, because that would probably be videoed and used as evidence to support the application for the injunction.

Conversely, if the complainant submits video evidence to the council showing a few mates on bikes meeting up, not being particularly noisy and only outside the cafe briefly, I suspect they will probably only undermine their case.
Last edited by slowster on 16 Aug 2019, 10:04pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Aug 2019, 9:51pm

I think my first thoughts were this seems a wrongheaded action by the council. Thinking about what was supposedly complained about, noisy cycling meets, I can see a potential problem.

Having been in various outdoor activity groups over the last 20 plus years I am aware how noisy groups at meet up points can be. Especially the heavily gear based activities such as cyclists (unloading bikes) and kayakers (unloading kayaks / kit and arranging car shuttle).

You often get people shouting across carparks when another person turns up, possibly who hasn't been put with the group for some time. Whilst in my activities meets start in more rural / remote locations so not an issue. Cycling in locations more built up than where I live / go could have locals wanting a quiet morning. Plus I think we have probably all seen that cyclists in groups can be noisy whether meeting up or cycling along.

However I cannot see how it's even slightly right to target a business over this when that business does not get involved with groups and their meets. The issue the local complainant has is with the noisy cyclists (taking complaint at face value) not the business. This puts the council in a difficult position because they need to address noise problems but the problem isn't linked to a business or address.

Part of me thinks that local cycling clubs and groups need to help the situation out. It's surely a simple solution for groups to meet elsewhere and only stop there mid route for a cafe stop. AIUI this would not contravene the injunction that's got a hearing in November. Take away the noise of meets the business isn't going to have this injunction threat hanging over them.

Of course the cyclists and other people should still support the cafe. Either mid ride, before the ride but starting the ride elsewhere or a post ride stop. In my groups in the past we often had cafe stops on the drive up to the meeting point, mid activity and/or post activity but not by the meet point. Either a decamp to nearby town by car or walking through the town to the cafe.

This is all about avoiding conflict not fighting unjust council approach.