I’ve written to all the elected councillors. If you fancy doing the same, here are their email addresses;email@example.com
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..
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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
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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.
British Cycling Coach and husband of former Mayor and now Cycling and Walking Champion of our council.