02:07PM, Friday 16 August 2019
L-R: Duncan Sharkey, Colin Walker, Duncan Dollimore and Cllr Simon Dudley
Cyclists visiting a popular cafe will not face legal action after the Royal Borough met with national cycling bodies.
Under planning rules, Velolife, a cafe and cycle workshop in Warren Row Road, Littlewick Green, is not allowed to have 'cycle meets' starting or finishing at its premises.
After council leader Cllr Simon Dudley and Royal Borough managing director Duncan Sharkey met with representatives from British Cycling and Cycling UK yesterday (Thursday), the council has confirmed that no action will be taken against clubs or individuals that visit Velolife.
It is not clear if action will be taken against Velolife, or its owner Lee Goodwin, if riders do meet at the venue.
A joint statement from the Royal Borough, British Cycling and Cycling UK says:
"Yesterday the council held very constructive talks with representatives from British Cycling and Cycling UK, who represent many cyclists and cycling clubs in the UK. The aim of the talks was to look for a pragmatic solution that gives clubs and cyclists clarity regarding the council’s position on Velolife Cafe.
"Following the meeting, the council are pleased to confirm that they will not be taking any action against cycling clubs or individuals who use the facilities at Velolife Cafe and apologises for suggesting that they might. Letters sent to cycling clubs indicating that legal action might be considered have already been withdrawn.
"All three organisations will continue to work with the cafe owner, the freeholder, and local people to ensure that the business is able to continue while respecting the rights of nearby neighbours.
"It has never been the council’s intention to stop a local business from thriving or prevent groups from enjoying the facilities at the café. However, in its role as a local authority, the council must consider the rights of local residents. The council hope that with the support of British Cycling and Cycling UK we will be able to strike the right balance for all concerned.
Duncan Sharkey, Royal Borough managing director, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to hold these very constructive talks with British Cycling and Cycling UK.
“Ensuring that the cafe and those who want to use its facilities are able to continue, while respecting the rights of those who live nearby has proven tricky. However, I hope that by working together we will find a solution everyone is happy with.”
Colin Walker, British Cycling’s lead cycling delivery manager, said: “First and foremost, we’re delighted that the threat of legal proceedings against cycling clubs for using the Velolife café on their weekend rides has been lifted. Hats off to the Royal Borough for meeting with us to discuss this issue, recognising the mistake that had been made in raising the possibility of legal action, and withdrawing the letters sent to clubs.
“We know that cyclists in the region really value the Velolife cafe as a place to visit on their weekend rides, so we certainly hope that the cafe and council can engage constructively to ensure that the planning issues that have been raised can be resolved. We’ll continue to talk with all concerned and do our bit to help achieve a positive outcome”.
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