Cafe can only serve lorry drivers

A POPULAR Suffolk transport café is facing financial ruin after being told it can only serve lorry drivers - with lorries.The Orwell Crossing café on the A14 at Nacton has been told it must not serve car or van drivers because the slip road on and off the road is not good enough to take small vehicles.

A POPULAR Suffolk transport café is facing financial ruin after being told it can only serve lorry drivers - with lorries.

The Orwell Crossing café on the A14 at Nacton has been told it must not serve car or van drivers because the slip road on and off the road is not good enough to take small vehicles.

However that slip road can be used by cars and vans visiting the neighbouring McDonald's restaurant.

Karl Rout, from the Orwell Crossing café, said: “When we applied for planning consent it was down as a lorry park - lorry drivers only.

“Our solicitor said that was anyone who had a driving licence. Now an enforcement officer at Suffolk Coastal says that it is only lorry drivers with a lorry.

“That means turning away disabled people - that's discrimination. We have to have disabled toilets. It is out and out discrimination.

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“We are incensed by it. It is stupid. It will finish our business. People use us as services but Suffolk Coastal says it is not to happen.”

Mr Rout lorry drivers made up much of his business - but was keen to cater for everyone.

And he felt that the council was picking on the little man while allowing a major business like McDonalds to serve anyone.

He said: “We expected to build the business around lorry drivers but expected to cater for everyone.

Now to be told sorry you can't use it is ludicrous. It feels like persecution.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said the condition had been placed on the business because of fears about road safety.

He said: “Mr Rout can apply to have the conditions varied - and if the Highways' Agency is not concerned then he may succeed.

“But there was a concern about the cumulative effect of more traffic using the sliproad.”

The condition meant only lorry drivers - those behind the wheel of a vehicle weighing more than 7.5 tonnes - could used the café. It could not be used by car or van drivers.

However he did not know how Mr Rout could monitor this. “How he enforces that is up to him - but if he serves all drivers he is in breach of his planning permission.”

No one from the Highways Agency was available to comment on the application.

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