Roadside cafe loses licence battle
A POPULAR roadside café has lost its battle to open to members of the public as well as lorry drivers.But owner Karl Rout has today vowed it will be business as usual at the Orwell Crossing Café on the A14 at Nacton despite the ruling by Suffolk Coastal District Council.
A POPULAR roadside café has lost its battle to open to members of the public as well as lorry drivers.
But owner Karl Rout has today vowed it will be business as usual at the Orwell Crossing Café on the A14 at Nacton despite the ruling by Suffolk Coastal District Council.
The authority said it was left with no choice after receiving a recommendation from the Highways Agency warning that the restaurants growing popularity could lead to an increase in accidents.
However Mr Rout said he was going to appeal against the decision and take his case to the secretary of state for planning.
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He said: “We will appeal because we believe it is a breach of our human rights. When I was first told about the decision I was shocked. I want all my customers to know that it is business as usual because I will not discriminate between any individual.
“Obviously it could harm the business if people think they are not allowed in. The lorry drivers are also furious because the ruling says we are not allowed to serve 'any member of the public' yet they are members of the public too and don't see why they should be singled out.”
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Planning bosses originally granted permission for the café in November 2002 when the applicants agreed that facilities in the park would be for lorry drivers only.
However it has become increasingly popular with other road users over the years and on Thursday Suffolk Coastal District Council's south area development control sub committee voted to refuse to lift the existing conditions.
A letter from the Highways Agency for not allowing the change was read out at the meeting and spelt out their “serious concerns” for the site.
It said that the Highways Agency would have given a direction of refusal in 2002 if they had known that the café intended to offer what is currently being advertised - coach parties, live music, entertainment programme, bar with normal licensing hours and Christmas and New Year functions catering for up to 150 people.
The letter concluded that activities such as this led to the facility becoming a destination in its own right which would place extra pressure on the road network and significantly increase traffic movements to and from the site, thereby enhancing the probability of an accident.
Ivan Jowers, chairman of the sub-committee, said: “The applicants were looking to have two planning conditions lifted which would make it legal for them to serve any member of the public and not just lorry drivers. Unfortunately we have no choice when the Highways Agency formally directs us to refuse.”