18 November 2011

The Union Street cafe proposal

Since before we moved to this area, there has been a milk bar nearby.  In recent years, it fell on hard times, presumably hit by the competition provided by the big supermarkets with their extended trading hours.    Perhaps the final straw was the supermarkets discounting the price of milk and the restrictions on the sale of cigarettes.   However, I was always a loyal supporter, buying a paper there every day and often some milk.
The milk bar closed some months ago, and there is now a proposal to convert it into a cafe.  The owner is actually the son of the Greek couple who ran the milk bar a long time ago.  We remember him kicking a soccer ball in the street.  He's now an eminent surgeon.   It seems his family retained the freehold and that the business has subsequently been run by tenants (as will be the cafe).
However, the proposal has encountered a hiccup in that the Council has postponed making a decision about a permit.    The local paper has picked this up, and quite a controversy has developed in the on-line comments.  See:
There seem to be a number of interests involved, including users of the tennis courts who would like to have another coffee option, locals who are worried about amenity issues such as parking, (perhaps) the operators and supporters of other cafes in the area (there is an existing cafe at the tennis courts) and, it seems, people from further afield who have views, some of whom seem well acquainted with the proponents (?!)  It seems that both "sides" have been marshaling their forces to win the "numbers" game.   
For the record, this is one planning issue where I am staying on the sidelines!  But I am watching with interest.

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