Café owner fights planners to keep trading

A café owner who fears his business faces closure has been given a stay of execution by councillors.

John Campbell, who runs the Clyde Street Café in Helensburgh, has been commended by Business Gateway for more than trebling his sales.

The cafe needs parking spaces, planners have said.
The cafe needs parking spaces, planners have said.

But planning permission for change of use was refused because there are double yellow lines outside and officials say four parking spaces would be needed.

Mr Campbell appealed against the refusal by Argyll and Bute Council and a recent meeting of the local review body requested further information from planners before making a final decision.

“There have been no objections from any source to this planning application,” said Mr Campbell in a letter to the council.

“The only response is from the area roads engineer and I must make this last challenge to his inflexible stand to mitigate the impact of his decision which will ultimately lead to the closure of my business.

“Should my appeal not be upheld, I can see no future for my business. This would mean the loss of two full-time jobs and one part-time job.”

He said planners should show the same flexibility as when permission was granted for Farmfoods nearby, and claimed the council’s impending move of office staff to the currently derelict East Clyde Street School had only been given permission because transport policy and parking requirements had been relaxed ‘by claiming a green transport policy stating a lot of the staff would not use cars, but walk or use public transport.’

“Why are my customers different to council staff?” he asked.

Mr Campbell took over the lease last year and says he has already lasted longer than the three previous tenants; he supported his case with a letter from Business Gateway which praised him for more than trebling his income in the space of 18 months.

“Against all my success record I am now faced with the fact that the area roads engineer wants to close me down because my land-locked, road-fronting premises cannot provide four parking spaces which my customers do not need, do not want and will not use,” he said

A report by planning officers states that the café is not in the designated town centre, where the parking requirement would not apply, and the roads engineers warns that it would cause increased traffic hazards and congestion.

The local review body will meet again in approximately four weeks once this information has been received and interested parties have had an opportunity to comment on it.

© The Lochside Press

4 Comments

    • It depends on the location – e.g. not in the town centre. This was also a reason why the Kilcreggan takeaway was refused.

  1. But there are parking spaces? I dont think people objecting to the smell really helped planning even though some of the objectors do not even live in the village.

  2. Oh, please … considering the dire straits of so many shops in H’burgh – if a cafe/takeaway can thrive in H’burgh, then just leave it alone. I’d guess a lot of this caff’s recent successful business may be coming from the construction work going on across the road at the old Community Centre, and maybe other customers as well, such as CHORD construction workers. This small caff probably employs at least a few people – let them keep their jobs. Considering the ridiculous parking arrangements in other parts of Helensburgh, and all along the A814 (thinking of Shore Road parking in Rhu and Garelochhead), the Clyde St. Cafe should be left in peace!

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