Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

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

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Aug 2019, 10:18am

Question the facts. Has there been any investigation into the substance of the complaint? Was it purely noise complaint?

This case deserves no more and no less of a procedure that other complaints get. There's likely to be protocols in place for noise and disturbance complaints. If an investigation protocol had been followed and supported the complaint then there should be protocols in place for subsequent action. That's down to the council.

The issue for me is I don't think we know for sure there is a valid issue needing action. I think it is possible for there to be an issue and possible there's no issue. If we don't know the answer to that then IMHO there's too much scope for tribalist jumping to conclusions.

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

Postby geocycle » 20 Aug 2019, 10:35am

I'd be looking carefully at the motives of the complainant. Is it really noise or something else? I'd also question the councils motives for taking it this far, is it really just about the complaint?
Last edited by geocycle on 20 Aug 2019, 2:21pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Aug 2019, 1:22pm

Surely better to actually follow procedures and investigate the complaint on the site? If valid or invalid a competent investigation along best practise will come up with the facts to base action on. No noise issue = no further action. Noise issue = action to reduce the noise. Is there anything to say whether they've done this investigation in a near practise way?

The council has enough demand on its finances to concentrate on rather than looking at complainant motives.

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

Postby geocycle » 20 Aug 2019, 1:39pm

Tangled Metal wrote:
The council has enough demand on its finances to concentrate on rather than looking at complainant motives.


Indeed. So what lies behind their desire to push this particular case?

reohn2
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby reohn2 » 20 Aug 2019, 1:52pm

geocycle wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:
The council has enough demand on its finances to concentrate on rather than looking at complainant motives.


Indeed. So what lies behind their desire to push this particular case?


One can but wonder.
There's no apparent evidence for the council's actions,well none in the public domain that I'm aware of,unless I've missed something(not unheard of).
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geocycle
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Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 9:46am

Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby geocycle » 20 Aug 2019, 2:47pm

reohn2 wrote:
geocycle wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:
The council has enough demand on its finances to concentrate on rather than looking at complainant motives.


Indeed. So what lies behind their desire to push this particular case?


One can but wonder.
There's no apparent evidence for the council's actions,well none in the public domain that I'm aware of,unless I've missed something(not unheard of).


Have a look Chris Boardman's twitter feed and some of the replies to his exchanges with the council.

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

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Aug 2019, 3:20pm

Not on twitter and a bit too busy. Any chance of a quick summary? Cheeky I know.

The thing I think all can agree on is that what's in the public domain seems to indicate a lack of procedure by the council and its officers. IMHO this has screwed the whole thing up.

Having studied acoustics and noise control a little for a past job it's very easy to obtain evidence of a noise problem. There's enough standards and best practise out there to get that right. I'm probably naive but I've been on courses with council staff being trained up in how to measure sound and noise control. B&K do some good courses based around their meters (B&K meters were the trade standard for measuring sound). They can record, analyse and report sound in whatever metric you need according to relevant BS standards. You can even post recording analyse the raw data. It's very interesting topic.

Within all that there's only political aspects to stop finding out the truth of the complaint. It's not the science but the humans that have been the issue. It's unfair to complainant, the cafe and its users IMHO. That's if the public domain info is as it seems, no idea about that.

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

Postby slowster » 20 Aug 2019, 5:05pm

It looks to me as if the fundamental issue is that the cafe owner failed to get planning permission for the change of use from a pub to a cafe, and also further failed in his application to have the bicycle repair workshop and retail business conducted on the site classed as ancillary to the cafe.

Several attempts have been made over the last 20 years by previous owners of the building to get planning permission to convert the building to residential use, and these have all been refused because the pub is considered an important community facility in what is apparently a small hamlet, and planning laws and guidelines are trying to preserve such pubs in small communities.

It seems the cafe owner is continuing to trade without that planning permission for change of use, and is presumably appealing the original refusal. In the meantime, it seems the planning inspector is seeking to mitigate the disturbance to local residents stemming from its unauthorised use as a cafe by requiring the cafe owner not to encourage or permit clubs to use the site as a meeting point. If the application for change of use to a cafe had been successful, I presume the planning inspector would not now be seeking those restrictions.

reohn2
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby reohn2 » 20 Aug 2019, 5:32pm

geocycle wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
geocycle wrote:
Indeed. So what lies behind their desire to push this particular case?


One can but wonder.
There's no apparent evidence for the council's actions,well none in the public domain that I'm aware of,unless I've missed something(not unheard of).


Have a look Chris Boardman's twitter feed and some of the replies to his exchanges with the council.

I don't do Twitter or Facebook,but I may give it a coat of staring at,if I dont have to register.
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I cycle therefore I am.

reohn2
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby reohn2 » 20 Aug 2019, 5:38pm

slowster wrote:It looks to me as if the fundamental issue is that the cafe owner failed to get planning permission for the change of use from a pub to a cafe, and also further failed in his application to have the bicycle repair workshop and retail business conducted on the site classed as ancillary to the cafe.

Several attempts have been made over the last 20 years by previous owners of the building to get planning permission to convert the building to residential use, and these have all been refused because the pub is considered an important community facility in what is apparently a small hamlet, and planning laws and guidelines are trying to preserve such pubs in small communities.

It seems the cafe owner is continuing to trade without that planning permission for change of use, and is presumably appealing the original refusal. In the meantime, it seems the planning inspector is seeking to mitigate the disturbance to local residents stemming from its unauthorised use as a cafe by requiring the cafe owner not to encourage or permit clubs to use the site as a meeting point. If the application for change of use to a cafe had been successful, I presume the planning inspector would not now be seeking those restrictions.

Is this fact or supposition?
I'm not being snooty about it,just a general enquiry as you may know something we don't.
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slowster
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby slowster » 20 Aug 2019, 6:13pm

reohn2 wrote:Is this fact or supposition?
I'm not being snooty about it,just a general enquiry as you may know something we don't.

On one of the twitter threads someone posted a link to the RBWM planning portal containing details of the 2017 application and refusal for a change of use from a pub to a cafe (plus the bike repairs and retail activity). As I understand it, there has been no change since then, i.e. that decision has not been overturned. It looks like an Enforcement Notice was served, and there was an appeal against the Enforcement Notice - as opposed to against the orginal decision - which the site says was allowed in part in 2018, but it does not make clear in what respect.

reohn2
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Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby reohn2 » 20 Aug 2019, 6:36pm

slowster wrote:
reohn2 wrote:Is this fact or supposition?
I'm not being snooty about it,just a general enquiry as you may know something we don't.

On one of the twitter threads someone posted a link to the RBWM planning portal containing details of the 2017 application and refusal for a change of use from a pub to a cafe (plus the bike repairs and retail activity). As I understand it, there has been no change since then, i.e. that decision has not been overturned. It looks like an Enforcement Notice was served, and there was an appeal against the Enforcement Notice - as opposed to against the orginal decision - which the site says was allowed in part in 2018, but it does not make clear in what respect.

Thanks for that.
The owner in that case has left himself wide open.
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drossall
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Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Council limiting modes of transport to a cycling cafe

Postby drossall » 21 Aug 2019, 9:41am

slowster wrote:It seems the cafe owner is continuing to trade without that planning permission for change of use, and is presumably appealing the original refusal. In the meantime, it seems the planning inspector is seeking to mitigate the disturbance to local residents stemming from its unauthorised use as a cafe by requiring the cafe owner not to encourage or permit clubs to use the site as a meeting point. If the application for change of use to a cafe had been successful, I presume the planning inspector would not now be seeking those restrictions.


Fair comment, although it's not unknown for cycling clubs (and Audax events) to start or finish rides at pubs...

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

Postby mattheus » 21 Aug 2019, 12:11pm

drossall wrote:
slowster wrote:It seems the cafe owner is continuing to trade without that planning permission for change of use, and is presumably appealing the original refusal. In the meantime, it seems the planning inspector is seeking to mitigate the disturbance to local residents stemming from its unauthorised use as a cafe by requiring the cafe owner not to encourage or permit clubs to use the site as a meeting point. If the application for change of use to a cafe had been successful, I presume the planning inspector would not now be seeking those restrictions.


Fair comment, although it's not unknown for cycling clubs (and Audax events) to start or finish rides at pubs...


Well exactly.

On the one hand the caff owner is on dodgy ground;
But I don't see how the noise complaint has anything to do with switching use from a pub to a cafe - its an almost unrelated issue.

You can't complain about the noise, using justification of: "Its too noisy! Oh and we don't like cyclist cafes!"


Certainly thickens the plot a bit...

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

Postby slowster » 21 Aug 2019, 1:29pm

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.