Cafe opening hours bid makes waves

A NEW upmarket café has hit stormy waters in a bid to open late and serve dinners overlooking the River Deben.The Waterfront Café opened on April 1 in The Granary beside Woodbridge's Tide Mill and quickly found it was pulling against the tide as angry people took away the advertising boards and glued the door lock.

By Richard Smith

A NEW upmarket café has hit stormy waters in a bid to open late and serve dinners overlooking the River Deben.

The Waterfront Café opened on April 1 in The Granary beside Woodbridge's Tide Mill and quickly found it was pulling against the tide as angry people took away the advertising boards and glued the door lock.

Now the café is causing controversy with a planning application to open until 10pm from April 1 to September 30 and residents in the flats above the premises have complained to Suffolk Coastal District Council about the possibility of noise and disturbance in the evening.


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However, the owners, who spent £50,000 on refurbishing the former tea rooms, remain undaunted and are prepared to appeal if they are refused planning permission.

Woodbridge Town Council has backed the plans and Charles Barrington, a user of the nearby Tide Mill marina, said it was encouraging to see the quality of the facility being developed.

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The venture is run by Patricia Goodwin and Patrick Hockley who also have the Woodbridge Fine Food Company in New Street.

Mr Hockley, café manager, said yesterday: ''We are offering a service to residents and visitors. Our clientele is discerning and I cannot see there being a lot of noise.

''We are attracting a lot of people and we are also serving the yachtsmen. They have come across the sea or round the coast and perhaps want an early supper when the tide is right and we are here to look after them.''

But David and Diane Leak, of The Granary, said: ''The problems are those of the constant chatter that can be heard through open windows in the summer and in particular, the noise of people walking and generally moving around on the gravel as well the noise transmitted through the timber framed building.

''A drinks licence has been granted to the current owner and he has extended his opening time until 6pm. Now we have a request to extend until 10pm. This is totally unacceptable as it will reduce the amenity of The Granary to that of a flat above a cafe in a high street.''

Bryony Hebson, of The Old Granary Cottage, said: ''We feel that a business with a liquor licence, restaurant facilities and planning permission to open to 10pm is totally inappropriate to the building. The original conversion of the Mill to residential dwellings never allowed for modern insulation and acoustics necessary to support such a commercial business situated in the core building."

Flat owners Katharine and Gareth Lewis said: ''We have no wish at all to restrict the right of the owners to get a decent return from their hard work in setting up a very well-appointed café, provided that the life of the residents and owners of the other eight units in the Granary is not ruined in exchange.

''We, and the permanent residents, are clearly very, very concerned about the impact of noise and nuisance from clientele who will, of course, drink much more in the evening than during the day. They will spill out on to the shingle area, a shared resource between all the owners, and the quay itself.''

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