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Cafe’s future in the balance

The future of a thriving Beverley cafe is hanging in the balance following a decision this week by East Riding planning councillors to order a noise assessment.

Cafe Velo, in North Bar Within, is seeking a permanent extension of a temporary two-year planning permission but at least two residents living in nearby Wood Lane had complained to the council about noise; leading to planning officers recommending refusal of planning permission.

The owners of the cafe, Garry Payne and Julie Routledge, have already said that decision would mean closure and possible bankruptcy because they still have two years on their lease to honour.

On Monday, an East Riding planning sub-committee voted to defer any decision on the planning application pending a noise assessment report.

In a written submission, one of those who complained, Prof Rhona Johnston, said: “Cafe Velo operates much of the year with the back door open, every day during the summer months. This means that I have been exposed all day to loud shouting out, both within the kitchen and outside in the courtyard, loud playing of the radio, and the noise of crockery being stacked and of bottles being recycled.

“During the evening supper clubs and band nights there is live music, including drums, until late on, the vibrations from which can be felt particularly strongly in my bedroom.”

Prof Johnston continued: “The kitchen is in a wooden extension, so there is no brickwork to absorb the noise. The day and night-time noise is particularly problematical because I have windows facing the back door. Even though I have had double glazing installed the noise levels are still unacceptable, even with the windows shut. The day-time noise also means that I am no longer able to sit in my garden.”

Bronwen Hawkins, who also lives in Wood Lane, told planners: “Initially, the cafe didn’t cause much disruption. Our living room backs directly on to their cafe so when the cafe started having live band nights, with speakers, we complained to the environmental health.

“Unfortunately the music is so loud we can’t even watch TV, as it is drowned out. The music goes on till at least 11.30 and sometimes later and it really is like having a band in our living room”

Since news of its possible closure first appeared East Riding Council has received a number of comments from members of the public in support of the cafe. One, Mrs Zoe Green, wrote: “I use this cafe all the time when out cycling as there is nothing else in the area like it.

“In a time when we are trying to support health and wellbeing I can’t believe that the council are thinking of closing this cafe. If you live in the town centre then you expect noise.

“There are far worse places near here that make noise – all with beer gardens,” she continued. If you want peace and quiet then go and live in the country. We should support local businesses against the big companies and therefore I object to this ruling of closure.”

Another, Michael McAllister, said: “As a regular user of Cafe Velo since it opened it has consistently provided great food, drink and entertainment. When cycling events come to Beverley East Yorkshire/Beverley Cafe Velo is usually the first stop for local/national radio and TV stations, does Beverley really want to lose something this special?

“Please allow Cafe Velo to continue to operate, Beverley would be a lot poorer as a place to visit if we were to lose this gem.”

Beverley Town Council has said it has no objection to the cafe continuing to operate but recommends restrictions should be put in place, saying no music should be played.

Similarly Beverley Civic Society told East Riding Council: “No objection to continuing to use as a cafe which provides a good service to the cycling community and the public, but . . . it is hoped suitable measures may be imposed to eliminate this (noise) nuisance.”