Re your request for views about your article titled ‘Sadness as much-loved café is forced to close’
During the period that this café was open, my husband and I visited it frequently, since it’s only just along the road from where we live.
It’s a delightfully quirky little place, and was a real asset to the local community, being an ideal place for local people to meet up regularly.
The setting is absolutely beautiful and peaceful, near to Medmerry, and the owners are remarkably wildlife-conscious and have been working closely with the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group to enhance their insect habitats, plant a wildflower meadow, etc.
They have twice hosted the local village fete on their property, as well as a charity Christmas choir evening, and other charity events. (Hosting events such as this is the only reason their planning application mentioned parking for 300 cars. During the period the café was open, four to ten cars was the norm.) Everything about the café was about using and renovating existing old buildings, enhancing the site and environment, and creating a small and unique facility for local residents, Medmerry visitors, walkers, etc, totally in keeping with the rural nature of the area.
Regarding comments about noise at night... the owners were experimenting and tried hosting a few events such as weddings and parties. However, my understanding is that this is not something they would want to do any more of anyway.
They are a small business, aimed at locals and walkers etc, and do not have the facilities to serve large numbers of people.
The whole point of the place is that it is a quiet and peaceful oasis, adjacent to the owners’ garden (designed by Chris Beardshaw and opened annually for a number of years under the National Gardens charity scheme).
Parking has become an issue because of the initially quoted large number of cars, and the current entrance to the property being on a bend, but the owners have been looking into alternative options for an entrance to the site and/or an alternative parking area, with only 30 cars as a maximum number, so this is not an insurmountable problem.
It is beyond me to understand how the council planners can reject this café so vehemently, but allow nearby housing and business developments, with absolutely no benefit to the local community, to sail through.
The owners are truly nice people, who just wanted to set up a small local business that also contributes to the community. During the period they were open, they proved that they could make their concept work, and their café became a real focal point for the community. It was wonderful to have a local place to go to where you could have a coffee and snack, meet with neighbours, and just chill out in a relaxed, friendly and tranquil environment.
CDC have succeeded in ripping that infant beating heart from our community.