Council’s Injunction To Stop Cyclists Assembling At Cycle Cafe Could Go National (see UPDATES below for the latest information on this fluid situation).
SPONSOR: Jenson USA
Sunday 11th August 2019
HOST: Carlton Reid
Lee Goodwin, owner of Velolife cafe
Cycling UK’s campaigns head Duncan Dollimore
And – via DMs – barrister Martin Porter QC
Berkshire cycle cafe Velolife & six local cycling clubs have been served with scary legal letters to stop cyclists assembling because of an alleged noise nuisance. What’s being done about this, and can such absurd over-reactions spread elsewhere in the UK?
The Lady Harberton case of 1899
NOTE: In the intro to the audio I made a mistake – it’s Lee Goodwin not Lee Martin. Sorry about that. The transcript has been corrected.
New: The elected leader of Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council Simon Dudley has visited Velocafe and gave his support. Some common sense to be engaged soon, then?
THE LATEST …
Joint statement on behalf of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, British Cycling and Cycling UK: Velolife Cafe
Friday, 16th August 2019 (about lunchtime)
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 Café and apologises for suggesting that they might. Letters sent to cycling clubs indicating that legal action might be considered have already been withdrawn.
All three organisations will continue to work with the café owner, the freeholder, and local people to ensure that the business is able to continue while respecting the rights of nearby neighbours.
It has never been the council’s intention to stop a local business from thriving or prevent groups from enjoying the facilities at the café. However, in its role as a local authority the council must consider the rights of local residents. The council hope that with the support of British Cycling and Cycling UK we will be able to strike the right balance for all concerned.
Duncan Sharkey, managing director at the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to hold these very constructive talks with British Cycling and Cycling UK.
“Ensuring that the café and those who want to use its facilities are able to continue, while respecting the rights of those who live nearby has proven tricky. However, I hope that by working together we will find a solution everyone is happy with.”
Colin Walker British Cycling’s lead cycling delivery manager said:
“First and foremost, we’re delighted that the threat of legal proceedings against cycling clubs for using the Velolife café on their weekend rides has been lifted. Hats off to the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead for meeting with us to discuss this issue, recognise the mistake that had been made in raising the possibility of legal action, and withdrawing the letters sent to clubs.
“We know that cyclists in the region really value the Velolife café as a place to visit on their weekend rides, so we certainly hope that the café and council can engage constructively to ensure that the planning issues that have been raised can be resolved. We’ll continue to talk with all concerned and do our bit to help achieve a positive outcome”.
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK said: “Cycling clubs and their members shouldn’t be concerned about legal proceedings if they stop at a particular café, so we’re relieved that the council has now confirmed that it will not take any such action.
“Given the council’s willingness to meet with and listen to representations from both Cycling UK and British Cycling, and then review their position regarding the cyclists attending Velolife, we hope a swift resolution to the planning dispute concerning the café can also be achieved.
“We spoke with Velolife’s owner Lee Goodwin this morning, and will continue to liaise with him, local clubs and the Council to ensure that this much loved and thriving local business can continue.”
HOWEVER …. A NEW STATEMENT WAS ISSUED AT ABOUT TEATIME ON FRIDAY 16th AUGUST
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said:
“Yesterday, Cycling UK and British Cycling met with representatives from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Subsequently, the Council confirmed that they were happy to withdraw enforcement letters sent to cycling clubs threatening legal action if they attended the Velolife Café.
“In a joint statement issued this morning, the Council then indicated that it would work to ensure that Velolife was able to continue, and that it was not its intention to stop people enjoying the facilities there.
“It is therefore incredibly frustrating and disappointing to have to issue this further statement a few hours later, following discussions with Velolife’s owner Lee Goodwin this afternoon and lengthy 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 café as a stop before, during or after organised rides, and that to do so would breach the terms of the draft injunction the Council has 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.
“Cycling UK will be discussing matters with Mr Goodwin and considering what further steps need to be taken as a matter of urgency.”
YES, WTAF …
Welcome to Episode 224 of the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast. This show was recorded on Sunday 11th August 2019.
The Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, where you’ll always find a great selection of products at amazing prices with unparalleled customer service. For more information, just go to Jensonusa.com/thespokesmen. Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fred cast cycling podcast at www.theFredcast.com. I’m one of the hosts and producers of the Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast. For show notes, links and all sorts of other information please visit our website at
www.the-spokesmen.com And now, here are the Spokesmen …
Hi there. I’m Carlton Reid and today we have a fascinating roundtable discussion of an issue that could have potential damaging ramifications for cycling clubs in the UK and the cafes and restaurants they may wish to visit. However, the virtual round table went a bit wonky, and had to be propped up with little bits of pretend cardboard. Let me explain. To record these podcasts I use a Skype-like service called Zencastr, which usually works great. But yesterday while recording three guests in different parts of the UK, who I’ll introduce in a second, Zencastr had some resilience issues. I’ve been able to salvage most of the audio, but you get to hear me dealing with a tech meltdown. Barrister Martin Porter was supposed to be on the show, but Zencastr didn’t like his mic.
After some valiant attempt using different PCs, the always eloquent Martin was sadly forced to drop out of the show. But I asked him to send me some comments via Twitter DMs, which he did. And I read them out live to my other guests. These were Cycling UK head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore and Lee Goodwin of the Velolife cafe. This cafe in a Berkshire hamlet is famous at the moment because a draft injunction has been served preventing cyclists congregating outside. This is an absurd situation and the absurdity carried through to the recording, because Lee couldn’t hear Duncan and Duncan couldn’t hear Lee. However, I could hear them both. So I relayed messages between the two while I was recording. It worked bizarre, but it worked. When the gremlins started sabotaging the show, I could have called the whole thing off, but I persevered because, as you’ll hear towards the end of the show, this isn’t just something that affects Lee’s
business, bad though that is, it could potentially prevent cyclists from congregating in groups in public places across the UK. That would be restriction of historic proportions. And that’s why I asked Duncan to start us off with a 19th Century anecdote.
On today’s show, we’re discussing a bicyclist ban at the Velolife cafe near Henley on Thames in Berkshire and examining whether local authorities and perhaps even the courts have the right to ban cyclists from congregating before or after group rides. Joining me on the show will be Velolife owner Lee Goodwin. And maybe if the technology works because we’ve been having mic problems but if he if we we are able to get him on and maybe even just by text messages because he could hear us but we couldn’t hear him and that would be bicycling barrister Martin Porter QC. Before I attempt to bring
Martin in and before I speak to Martin, I’d like to talk about the 1890s with Duncan Dollimore, who is head of campaigns at Cycling UK. So Duncan, I’d like you to tell us what happened at the Hautboy pub in Ockham, Surrey, in 1899 and why that may have at least a passing resemblance to the Velolife situation of today.
Well, back in the 1890s people seem to get themselves unusually concerned about what women wore when they went cycling. Many women didn’t want to wear clothes that restricted their movement. They didn’t want to wear long skirts, which made it difficult to ride so the phrase “rational dress” was coined to describe outfits that were there, the favourite outfits of the day, which were Knickerbocker suits, and Lady Harberton was riding what was wearing such a suit when she arrived at the Hautboy Hotel in 1899.
The plan was to stop for refreshments and luncheon in the hotel. But the proprietor refused her service, such was his indignation about what she was wearing.
We weren’t Cycling UK as such at that stage, Cycling UK were known as the Cyclists’ Touring Club, and CTC were involved in the legal challenge of that decision. It was a challenge, which unfortunately failed. But it was part of the process of starting to challenge some decisions that were made and challenging efforts to make cycling more difficult for people, which we’re still dealing with today. So although it was a loss of a case, I’m not sure it was an entire defeat. And it’s really strange that 120 years on when we look at Velolife, although the facts are different, there’s still somebody wants it met to make it difficult for another person on a bike to stop off at an establishment and enjoy tea and cake.
A bit of a future from the past moment when we look at it. And it’s it’s a little sad that we’re still having the same arguments and petty mindedness now, in 2019, that Lady Harberton experienced back in 1899.
Yes, discrimination. So back in the 1890s, there was discrimination against women, and not not in cycling in general. But this case where we’re discussing today is discrimination against cyclists of any creed, colour, sex, whatever. So at that point, I’d like to bring in Lee and just ask you, could you could you tell us what’s been happening, but start in 2016, right from when you actually started the business.
Hi, guys. Um, so in 2016, I took over the premises, which was previously a pub and is still obviously a pub in its entirety as a building and we’ve been
proceeded to open a cafe. We were under the understanding, possibly in my naivete at the time that we could downgrade the licence from pub to the cafe. And it was highlighted to us by the Council reasonably after that, that that was not the case. And so I took some planning advice and they said that we should apply for a certificate of law from this, which we did. And that was denied.
The council then issued an enforcement notice for us to cease using the premises as a cafe, a bicycle workshop, for retail and for cycle meeting place within appeal the decision and then spectrum it came back in late 2018, giving use for us as a bicycle cafe as a bicycle workshop, not retail, and then potentially the tricky part. She said that she deemed a cycle meeting place to be to widen its meaning as
that it could encompass a range of purposes, where she thought the allegation was intended to talk with the use of the land as a place where cyclists meet prior to departing on organised right and event. And she then said you would like to substitute meeting place for cyclists meet and gave a little note on that. That said, a cyclist meet is distinguishable from youth as a cafe. We’re visiting cyclists might be at the premises for the primary purpose of taking refreshments. We thought that was good. And we would have to stop doing our Velolife club right from the premises, which we move down the road and continue to trade allowing cyclists from club rides to come around and take refreshments
and the situation
Okay, so this this obviously blew up on Twitter and an awful lot of people have been talking about it. Chris Boardman’s, you know, weighed in.
All sorts of people have weighed in on this because clearly it is, it is
Can you describe?
Can you actually describe where you are as in the locale you in like in your like an in rural area, you’re in a pretty quiet place? Is it the fact that you haven’t got that many houses around you so the complainant must be known to you and must be, you know, in that hamlet?
Absolutely. There’s not not a lot of houses down Warren Row and quite a reason it’s a reasonably quiet road. It’s quite a important road because it connects what we call the flats, which go out towards Windsor and Maidenhead and the children’s which start just on the side of family. And so if you look at some Strave data on the heat maps from before does a very well used cycling route. And it’s the closest that of tar road to National Cycle Route fourteen. It’s also on the council’s cycling routes deemed as a quiet route.
Perfect for all cyclists to us. And we have some residents on the opposite side of us and we have some residents next door and just behind us. And yes, it appears to be a single resident that has filed the complaints.
Carlton Reid Are you able to say are you able to even intimate that this person might have contacts at the Council influence at the counter, or is at literally one resident and that’s enough to to bring the wrath down on you.
Lee Goodwin One would like to think that the single reason can’t bring the wrath down on you. However, I’m certainly not aware of any connexion to the council. So I can’t I can’t really say sometimes it appears that way. But I can’t say with any confidence that I know they do or don’t.
Carlton Reid So let’s bring us up to date because you’ve then had and this is where this is why I brought Martin in. And I have had some text room by the way. So I can even though
We can’t hear from Martin, we will be able to get Martin’s expert opinion because he has sent me through some messages there. But you put onto Twitter, you put this injunction documents, that’s the latest situation. And Martin and a few other lawyers were saying, well, that’s not actually a physical injunction yet. It’s it’s looked like it’s not dated. It’s not number, it must be some sort of draught injunction. But it’s a very scary document. You look at that and that you’re basically talking about jail time for anybody encouraging.
Cyclists me so so. So tell me exactly what’s happening. Right. The second time with that, that document you’ve had?
Lee Goodwin Yes, so that absolutely correct. It’s a draft injunction, which has not yet been obtained by the courts. And as you alluded to Carlton if I wanted, it’s an incredibly scary document. And in particular, for somebody who’s not, you know, overly familiar with the law and it’s quite quite
scary and the document what it actually asks it pretty much prohibits me to even know about cycles
that exists in Warren Row. And so yes, it was issued to me we’ve we’ve had the first court hearing regarding it and the next court hearing is in November. And I think what what even more scary and what actually kicked this whole thing off on social media is that draught injunctions will also issued to some cycling clubs in the borough. And they were actually the ones who put that on Twitter, which started this sort of frenzy as such to go around. And I still currently sit with the with the draft injunction and have been told that if I don’t, if I don’t see a marked improvement, then they will possibly seek an interim injunction or stop order.
Carlton Reid So don’t could bring in bringing you back in in the in the Telegraph and I’m sure in other places where this
been brought up. You’ve called this an absurd catch 22 situation. So So have you heard of anything like this before apart from the 1899 example?
Well, I described it as a an absurdity of catch 22 proportions. Because the council just don’t seem to hadn’t really thought through what their position is properly, or one level they’re saying that they don’t want to stop cyclists visiting the cafe. But then they go on to say, but They mustn’t arrange or organise any meat starts or ends or stops off there. And the definition of meat seems to include any congregation of people who arrive at establishment who are members are associated with a cycling club, whether they get there by any means carbon or cycle. So what they’re doing is they’re creating this Kafkaesque situation whereby you can technically be in breach of the enforcement notice that’s been serving a particular club
Because you’re cycling along, joining a ride with two or three other people who have arranged by Twitter or Facebook to stop off at the establishment, and you suddenly become a congregation or or part of the cyclists meet, that stops off the team cake at the cafe, whole thing is Kafkaesque in nature. And it’s a demonstration of have someone in the planning department departments simply not thinking this through. We haven’t come across this exact situation before at least I haven’t have an establishment are putting in these rules and these these sort of very generic descriptions where they they treat people whether by their particular mode of transport, whether they’re a cyclist, a car driver or a Rambler, but it’s indicative of a of an attitude we sometimes see with local authorities on a different manner. We’ve been involved in a number of challenges and one particular legal case where we supported various opponents in Mansfield, where they were challenging the making of what was known as
public space protection order, or PSP. Oh, and that’s an order that lots of local authorities have used to try and prevent cyclists from entering parts of town centres. So in Mansfield, we had the ludicrous situation where the council’s sought to make a 24 hour a day public space protection order around the entirety of the town centre that was fortunately fortunately varied by them and became a much more restricted arrangement based on an existing traffic regulation order restriction. But a number of local authorities have had that small mindedness where their, their approach to dealing with public life and activities and that’s how centres have been to try and make generic orders banning particular activities, whether it’s skateboarding or cycling, or anything else, such as busking. So we do see this small mindedness from local authorities on a regular basis but not an infrequent basis.
Carlton Reid Now unfortunately, we’re
we are having technical problems here in that Martin couldn’t hear us. We couldn’t hear him. Sorry, he could hear us. And unfortunately now, at least I cannot hear you, Duncan. So I can hear everybody. So I’m like omniscient here. Which which is a bit weird. So I’ll I’ll, I’ll kind of summarise that in a bit and and for for the for these purposes because he can’t hear about so Lee I’ll just repeat what some of what Duncan said there it’s just it’s a calf gasket proportions here and is clearly
absurd what’s happening and at this point I will actually now go through and I’ll mentioned because it has the technical problems but we sort of sorted this word by using text I’m going to actually say what Martin has has has told us so Lee, can you just can you hear me able to hear
Hear me now, are you? You can hear me. Okay, so you can hear me You just can’t unfortunately you can’t hear Duncan. So Duncan.
I don’t know what we can do there. We just, I can hear you. But unfortunately cause I missed the seance thing that we’re having problems with anyway. So I’ll do it. I’ll say what
what Martin was saying, because I thought Martin would be actually would not be able to say stuff on this case because all lawyers all barristers always say, Well, I can’t discuss this particular case. So I’ll put that caveat up there. But I will now just say what Martin’s sent through to me. So this is from Martin. This is Martin’s words, not mine. “My contribution is that the Royal Barough have messed this up badly. I think we can pretty much concur on that. Anyway. There is no planning us categorised as cyclists meet. And the inspector should not have ruled that a meeting requires planning permission. If you have permission, as a cafe or pub or shop etc, etc. People will necessarily
meet other people. It is not a use sue generis.”
Carlton Reid Have you got any legal training there, Duncan by any chance?
Duncan Dollimore What? Yes, I have some legal training and I worked in legal practice for a number of years. And Martin refers to sue generis, I’ll leave Martin to, to deal with the legal technicalities, but broadly, what he’s talking about is sue generis means of its own time. And I think the point Martin’s, and to make is that there isn’t a specific distinction of use for buildings known as cyclists meet. So there’s various types of use that are described in planning law in relation to whether a property is being used as a restaurant or for retail, but there’s nothing which actually defines a particular type of use as a cyclist meet. So anybody else that’s carrying on a type of activity is in the course of that activity, going to meet other people. So I think Martin’s
questioning the whole that whole use of that phrase, as though it’s somehow a magic term, which can be closely defined. The reality is that we’ve got no idea whether meet relates to an organised event of a specific limited number. And it applies if there’s more than 20 or 30, or 15 or 10 people attending, and it’s arranged and organised in a particular official way, or whether that applies Carlton, if you are I tweet or text and say, we’ll meet up at the Velolife tomorrow we’ll have a ride and then we’ll call in for cake, the whatever it is, and so the whole thing’s become a little bit bizarre and its interpretation. What is however, deeply depressing if we leave aside some of the legal niceties of how you might define an organised event, how you might define what is a cyclist meet, it’s clear that the planning inspector was not seeking to unduly restrict
This particular that that might want a story strict activities of people who might seek to call in this particular establishment, but the enforcement officers of the local authority have decided to take the most restrictive interpretation of that phrase cyclists make that was possible for them to take. And that’s the really sad and depressing issue here. And it’s why we’re going to have to, as an organisation, look to do something about this to put it very, very bluntly.
Carlton Reid Yes, crazy. So Lee, you’re going to have to listen to this show back. So you can be able to hear what Duncan was saying. But But Duncan was just telling us there and I won’t repeat everything what what Duncan said, but he’s just giving us exactly what so generous means, and that the phrase is a very woolly phrase, and has now been extended, generally which which is not on. I’ll continue anyway, with with what Martin was saying. So, so after so generous there, Martin said, however,
“Since this is what the inspector found, and it was not challenged, there is apparently permission to operate as a cafe workshop but not as a cyclist meet. The inspector made clear that there was a distinction between cyclists their primary to use the cafe, and – in inverted commas – “cyclists meet.” So it was apparently the gathering together of cyclists for group rides outside the cafe that she thought she was prohibiting. The proposed injunction I have seen goes way beyond that though, and no court would grant it – it literally means to cyclists on a ride cannot stop at the cafe. And he finishes by saying as Duncan was saying, upset Oh, no, in fact, it doesn’t finish he’s carried on sorry. But he says that’s absurd. Unfortunately, the town hall does have very little affinity for cyclists. The elected councillors may be fine, but the staff at City Hall are the only authority in the area to have held out despise numerous requests from BC
I’m assuming it means British cycling there against the accredited Marshall scheme for racing and have been quite useless. Always been very. He’s been very unlawyerly here. I’ve been quite useless and doing anything about safe cycling Routes to schools in the bearer. And then he says he’s not going to get a microphone.
Okay, but we’ve got the gist of what Martin was was was saying there so he’s he’s being a modern is pretty good. He kind of speaks his mind doesn’t he doesn’t hedge his bets at all. So Lee, coming back to you.
Have you had legal help here? Have you also had representation saying, yeah, that haven’t got a chance in hell here. What What have you had?
Lee Goodwin – I have had some legal representation. And it all happened very quickly. If I’m completely honest, from being issued. The proposed injunction to going to court was a couple of weeks, not even for us. So it’s all happened very quickly and unfortunately.
since going to court, my legal representation had pre booked holidays, so is away at the movement. And so although yes, I have had legal representation, and it’s been a little bit challenging over the last week to try and decipher my way through this without them actually being of access. And so yes, they haven’t said this is absurd, but then I’m not sure we’ve quite got that conversation as of yet.
Carlton Reid So the situation you are in right now you’ve taken some legal representation, you had this this draft injunction shown to you sent to you seven you however draft injunctions work, and you are then waiting for a court case to come up in November. Is that right? Lee Goodwin That’s correct. And in the meantime,
the Council have told me that if I don’t do as they’ve asked
Then they will seek to get an interim injunction or a stop order. And so I’m in a little bit of a tricky position because if I continue to trade as I lawfully see I may and then they may seek to do to try and get a further injunction
and obviously, I think what kicked us all off, really is that they then served drauft injunctions to the clubs, which means not only have they told me I’m not allowed to they’ve been gone and try to stop my customers from coming to the cafe. Once again, it’s it’s rather threatening, especially for us that aren’t involved in law. It’s it’s quite a scary document. Carlton Reid Duncan, can you hear Lee?
Duncan Dollimore I’m back on. Yes, but I’ve been struggling to hear what Lee’s saying so I’ve been hearing you but not Lee.
At all of a sudden I can now hear lead but I haven’t heard anything you said since we started this. I apologise if I say anything which contradicts what he’s just said. Carlton Reid So that clearly is a
And absurd situation. And of course everybody feels for Lee and for Velolife. However, this potentially, Duncan, has ramifications away from Warren Row. And this is why I’m presuming you’re involved, or Cycling UK is involved, because this could involve, if this goes through this, this becomes some sort of precedent and this could happen to many other businesses, not just Lee’s
Well, there’s two wider implications. One is for clubs that have been served with notices threatening club secretaries, with legal proceedings with injunctions with proceedings that can lead to people going to prison.
And bear in mind, these are people who are volunteers who are organising a local club and getting people to go on a ride or a Saturday or Sunday, so they receiving legal … threatening letters, the council saying you’re not allowed to stop off at this particular cafe.
So it has implications for them, which discourages people from becoming involved in local community activities and organising groups and organising rides. Because of that, why do I need to bother with this? It’s too much hassle, but it also has implications for other organisations, other businesses, other cafes around the country, where they seek to rejuvenate a failing pub in a local village. They seek to encourage walkers, cyclists, horse riders, whoever it is to attend. And then suddenly they’re facing legal threats from a local authority – it is absolutely bizarre. If you if you rowed this back, this is a pub that failed. It couldn’t make a business couldn’t couldn’t make profits. And somebody came in and try to encourage other people to to attend it. And there are the government’s planning framework is designed to encourage people to
conduct more than one business, to diversify to encourage other people to, to be engaged in activities, which is exactly what Lee did with this business. And we have the situation where now there are enforcement proceedings being pursued against him
So Duncan don’t get how much do you think this is kind of like discriminatory against cyclists because motorists can can turn up at this this cafe rev their engines do crazy stuff. Fine, because they’re motorists is not not a problem, but it’s just aimed at cyclists. So is that so? discriminatory? Is it bound to be overturned but it is clearly well discriminatory?
I think it is discriminate discriminatry, but also, I don’t want to sound like the guy that’s constantly defending cyclists or put another way, it’s just stupid to define people by how they might travel on one particular
occasion. So, you know, it suggests that members of a cycling club shouldn’t assemble there however they travel there, whether they’re travelling by van, car or on a bike. I ride a bike, sometimes go on a train, sometimes drive a car. So if I arrived at this cafe,am I not defined by the fact that I’m in the cycling club? Am I a cyclist? If I arrived there one day and I’m on it by cycle, if I’m a member of a cycling club, do I cease to be a cyclist if I arrived there the next day we have in a van with my bike at the back of the car? It’s just crass stupidity to define people by their mode of travel on a particular day. The reality is that you know, people are people and ramblers, horse riders, people involved in Duke of Edinburgh, cyclists, mountain bikers, people aren’t are attracted to venues that have a particular interest. My partner’s cousin
owns a local pub a few miles from where I’m living. He’s desperately trying to get ramblers to attend his particular pub and I had a conversation with him about his on the NCN route and is trying to encourage cyclists to go there. And this is a pub that wants to encourage people to get to the village where there’s not much going on. And he doesn’t really care whether it’s the Classic Car Club, or the Ramblers, or the cyclists or the mountain bikers, the horse riders that go there. It just wants some business. And this is what Lee did here. He was trying to encourage people to attend and to divert to people by their mode of travel, and bands them up as cyclists or walkers and horse riders, is just just ridiculously naive and simplistic. Hmm.
Carlton Reid Now, Lee
tell us if you can that the actual impact on your business this is having.
I will I think you know
at the crux of this as well as this
is a community facility which is quite clearly been said in the past when an application was put into turn it into houses, that the inspector actually found that he understood that a pub was a struggle to run there. But he employed the owner to say why don’t you seek another opportunity to have in the pub that could retain the community facility. He was actually quite clear that the the community is quite small and therefore couldn’t support a business in particular pub on its own. So the impact if we were to lose the cyclist coming through would be that the community facility that the previous inspector envisaged should stay and should remain will be lost. The community supports as much as they can, we have regulars from the village in every single day of the week. However, that’s not enough trade to – no fault of their own – they just simply cannot purchase that amount of coffee.
So in order to retain that, that facility, we have to encourage people to come in from elsewhere. And cyclists are perfect seeing as they were using the road any way. They were coming past that road on their way, why not invite them in? And it seems crazy and going back to what Duncan said it’s, it’s just bizarrely discriminatory, that you could arrive in any amount of any number at any time during our opening hours, by any mode of transport you so choose, except by bicycle, arguably one of the greenest modes of transport around, never mind the health implications that it has and the reduction of you know, use in the NHS and all those things that surround cycling, but it is just so discriminatory that transport should be excluded. And it’s early days yet coming back to your question. Sorry, welcome. I went on a little bit of a tangent there, but
Coming back, it’s early days yet, and I can categorically say that if clubs are forced not to come past, then the business is simply not sustainable.
Carlton Reid Lee, have you ever heard of the Barbra Streisand effect?
Lee Goodwin – Not in particular some explanation.
Carlton Reid That’s that’s the concept of when somebody
complains. This goes back to Barbra Streisand. I think it was a helicopter or paparazi who are above her house and she took an injunction out and to stop them. And you know, you must be publicised my house in California, wherever it is. And what that in fact did was every day more to look at her house because oh, what’s so fantastic about your house? And so the Barbra Streisand effect is, whenever anybody you know, raises too much of a complaint. It just raises the fact that there must be something really interesting here. So let’s all do this. So could you potentially be
Be the beneficiary of the Streisand effect here in that this actually raising your profile, cyclists locally who, you know might not have done that five mile, 10 mile detour to get to you will go, well, let’s all go to Velolife, because that’s clear the happening place at the moment do you do? And if that happened, would you actually get blamed for it?
Lee Goodwin – Well, it’s, if I’m honest, it was, it was a huge concern of mine for this weekend. Because we’ve done nothing to encourage anything other than what we were allowed to do. And if I’m honest, there was a little bit of concern that we would be inundated with people over the weekend, and that would actually cause
some more trouble for us. And yes, I guess there is definitely a part of that that could happen. I think that hinges in particular on the outcome of our current situation, and it still remains and as I’ve said from the beginning, it wasn’t actually us that went public.
At first, it was a club that got served an injunction and rightly so.
So I could certainly be some of the Barbra Streisand effect that takes place but certainly that wouldn’t be the case unless we can get this sorted.
Okay. So, Duncan, what’s Cycling UK’s is next step. What’s going to happen from here? We’ve had like partly the PR angle. Is there anything now that can be can be done
in courts perhaps?
Well, we’ve been contacted by six clubs since Friday afternoon who’ve been served with legal proceedings, so I’ve got to go back to them next week. So I’m not going to say definitively what we’re going to do, but I think it’s fair to say that we are going to be considering what legal steps there are for those particular clubs to challenge the orders well, the threats of action that they received, so well and good the local authority, the council,
sending some rather conflicting letters saying we don’t really want to pursue proceedings against the clubs, they haven’t withdrawn their legal threats. And so those clubs are still on notice that that exists. You mentioned the Streisand effect. And I really sympathise with Lee’s position because on the one hand,
it would be a great show of sympathy of 500 cyclists were turning up to attend his cafe. But he’ll be thinking, is that going to lead me to being pursued in court in relationship to this matter? It may well be that a different course of action is that those 500 cyclists are descending on the council’s offices. And so those are some of the things that we’re going to have to be considering next week. But this is not something which should be allowed to continue. So it is it is a matter that we’re going to be chatting about next week to come up with a plan. I don’t think it’s wise for me to say tonight exactly what that plan’s going to be.
But it’s not something where, where we’re seeking to or planning to just let lie, because this is just a ridiculous decision by a council. And the bizarre thing is there was an opportunity on Thursday this week for the council to say, we’re really, really sorry, we’ve got this wrong. We shouldn’t have been threatening local clubs and cyclists with legal proceedings if they attend this cafe, and they actually made matters worse by by rather implying that if you attended there, you could yourself be somebody who was legally liable to legal proceedings. And in those circumstances, this isn’t something that we as an organisation can just ignore.
Okay. Now, I think everybody who’s listening to this, this, the Spokesmen podcast will recognise this as absurd. I think people away from cycling circles will think this is absurd. So at some point, I think, Lee your business will get
back to normal. And you will, you will hopefully get over this because this cannot be allowed to stand for all sorts of different reasons.
But for now, it does sound as though Cycling UK is on the case it sounds as though your legal representation is on the case and hopefully this will be overturned. But for now, I’d just like to thank you both and to Martin, for being on today’s show.
Thanks also to you for listening and for subscribing. As always, this show is brought to you in association with Jenson USA. Show notes and more for the Spokesman Cycling roundtable podcast can be found at the-spokesmen.com. That “more” now includes full transcripts with time codes, so you can skip around the recording should you wish. David Bernstein and I have been producing these shows since 2006 and
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