Ludicrous rule takes away tables

SHOPPERS branded a new ruling which has deprived them of seats at an Ipswich tea and coffee outlet as "ludicrous".Carol Robertson regularly takes her elderly mother, Dorothy Buswell, for a cuppa at Carmans bakery on the Chantry estate.

By Amanda Cresswell

SHOPPERS branded a new ruling which has deprived them of seats at an Ipswich tea and coffee outlet as "ludicrous".

Carol Robertson regularly takes her elderly mother, Dorothy Buswell, for a cuppa at Carmans bakery on the Chantry estate.

But the 81-year-old has been forced out in the cold after Ipswich Borough Council banned chairs and tables inside the bakery because the venue lacks customer toilet facilities.

Mrs Robertson was outraged at the decision which has affected customers who use the bakery as a social venue.

"Apparently health and safety phoned the council who took the chairs away last week," explained Mrs Robertson.

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"A lot of elderly people use the facility. One elderly man in particular goes there nearly every day to have a cup of tea. It is a nice place to sit and watch the world go by. Where will he go now?

"They (the council) has taken away this facility where he can go to for company and a chat?"

Mrs Buswell, of Bittern Close, recently had a stroke and can't walk very far so looks forward to visiting the Hawthorn Drive bakery while her daughter does her shopping. The shop had three tables – with four chairs each – for the past two years.

"It is an ideal little place," said Mrs Robertson. "My mother would sit with a cup of tea and it gets her out of the house.

"Now she will have to sit in the car because she is not able to walk around.

"One minute they are telling you to help elderly people. The next they are taking away their bit of pleasure.

"There are benches outside that people can sit on. But who wants to sit there when it is pouring with rain? The lack of toilet facilities is such a feeble excuse to take the seats away.

"It just seems illogical to me.

"The chairs and tables have been taken away yet you can still buy a cup of tea or coffee there.

"Does it mean people who stand up and drink are less likely to want to use the toilet facilities? It just doesn't make sense. The bakery has had the tables and chairs for two years – why did it take the council two years to make this decision?

"It is crazy. Sometimes the local councillors who make decisions are unaware they are upsetting people's lives."

Sarah Tick, supervisor of one of the Carman bakery shops in the town, confirmed the decision and said: "It wasn't us. We have lost trade through it. A lot of customers are upset. It was really convenient for them while they did their shopping.

"People would also pop in here for a cup of tea while they waited for their prescription from the chemists."

An Ipswich borough council spokesman said: "We have been discussing the matter with the owners in line with the British Standards.

"The standards require that premises that provide refreshments for consumption on the premises must provide at least one toilet available for customer's use.

"We have also received a complaint from a customer in relation to this. It is a necessary step in maintaining standards in the borough."