A Cardiff café owner is at loggerheads with the city council over new bike stands that mean she can no longer have outdoor seating.
Natalie Eddins, owner of Thé Pot Café on Crwys Road, was in the middle of negotiating a licence for the tables and chairs that have stood outside the café for the last 11 years.
Her application made earlier this year was denied on the grounds that there was needed to be at least 2m between the edge of the chairs and the edge of the kerb, to allow wheelchairs and pushchairs adequate room to pass.
Eddins said she measured the space herself and found that there was 3.5m. "I called the council, told them this and asked if we could work with each other because the seating is positioned within the legal parameters," she explained.
"But the lady I spoke to said ‘yeah, that's the thing we say but we just don't give out licences outside the city centre'. So after all these letters and phone calls, that was the final answer."
Following this conversation on 11 September, Eddins received a letter on 21 September to say the matter was being investigated. She then arrived at work on 1 October to find two bike rails had been erected outside the café, reducing the amount of space between the seating to below 2m.
"I just can't believe it's a coincidence," said Eddins. "What makes me even more suspicious is they must have erected these on a Sunday night.
"I left the café at about 8pm on Sunday and they were there by 8am on Monday, which makes me laugh because the council will have had to pay someone overtime. I can't really see how anything can change now that their two metre argument has credence.
"They're a massive nuisance too. They're more in the way for people with buggies and wheelchairs than my table and chairs ever were."
Eddins has received overwhelming support from the café's Twitter followers, who have called on Cardiff City Council to remove the bike stands, citing that they are a public nuisance.
"Weirdly there's another café a few doors down the road from me which also has tables and chairs and on Monday morning they opened up to find exactly the same thing outside their café," she added.
"The owner of the launderette next door to me said they could have put it there; there's an audio shop on the other side and they could have put the bike stands there. There's a café opposite mine with no bike rails but they don't have outdoor seating."
A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: "The council acknowledges the concerns raised by Ms Eddins and is contacting her directly to resolve the matter."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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