Council withdraws threat of legal action against cyclists at cafe
Velolife was set up on the site of an old pub as a cafe and bike workshop in 2016 in Warren Row in Berkshire.
The threat of legal action against cyclists gathering at a cafe in a small hamlet has been dropped, but their attendance may be considered a breach of council planning requirements, Cycling UK said.
Velolife was set up on the site of an old pub as a cafe and bike workshop in 2016 by entrepreneur Lee Goodwin in Warren Row in Berkshire.
Cycling UK said that while no action will be taken against clubs attending the cafe, the council has informed Mr Goodwin that he will need to ensure that clubs do not use the cafe as a stop before, during or after organised rides.
To do so would “breach the terms of the draft injunction the council have sought”, Cycling UK said.
The cafe was championed by the likes of former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman and Team Ineos rider Chris Lawless after it was slapped with restrictions on cycle meets following noise complaints.
Local cycling clubs were threatened with enforcement action by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for allegedly using the cafe’s car park as a starting point for meets.
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 Joint statement
A joint statement from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, British Cycling and Cycling UK said the council has apologised and letters that were sent to cycling clubs suggesting legal action have been withdrawn.
The statement said: “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“Letters sent to cycling clubs indicating that legal action might be considered have already been withdrawn.”
The statement added: “It has never been the council’s intention to stop a local business from thriving or prevent groups from enjoying the facilities at the cafe.”
Cycling UK initially expressed relief at the outcome, but on Friday evening, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said it was “incredibly frustrating and disappointing” to have to issue a further statement a few hours later, following discussions with Mr Goodwin and email exchanges with the council.
“Cycling UK was informed a few hours ago that the council had informed Mr Goodwin today that, notwithstanding their statement that no action would be taken against clubs attending Velolife, Mr Goodwin still needed to ensure that clubs did not use the cafe as a stop before, during or after organised rides, and that to do so would breach the terms of the draft injunction the Council have sought.
“Accordingly, Cycling UK are obliged to clarify their position, and notify local cycling clubs that whilst their attendance at Velolife will not lead to enforcement action against the club, any such attendance may be considered a breach of planning requirements by RBWM and lead to further action against Mr Goodwin,” he said.
Last year, an inspector from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead banned the cafe’s use as a meeting point for cyclists after one set of neighbours said up to 20 had been congregating in the car park.
An injunction, seen by the Telegraph, was later sought against the cafe and local clubs threatened with enforcement action after cyclists were said to have met at the cafe in January.
It banned the cafe’s use by “congregating cyclists, including but not limited to, cycle club members arriving by any means including car, van or cycle, at any time of day or night,” the Telegraph reported.
After an outcry from cyclists, the council issued a clarification saying: “Cyclists are welcome to use the facilities at the cafe but must not arrange organised meets that start, end or stop at the cafe.
“This is to prevent large numbers of cyclists congregating outside the cafe and causing a nuisance to residents.”
The cafe has a further court hearing in November at a venue yet to be set to hear the council’s injunction application.