Published: 18 January, 2013
by PETER GRUNER
PLANS to turn a former concrete storage building on the Regent’s Canal at City Road Basin into a café have received mixed reactions.
The scheme, which will be considered by the Town Hall’s planning committee next Tuesday, is for a café and an adjoining design studio.
The council has received six letters of objection, including a petition with 42 names (although no addresses), and six letters of support.
Objectors were concerned with noise and disturbance, litter, “unacceptable” late hours, and the potential to attract anti-social behaviour.
Del Brenner, chairman of the Regent’s Canal Network Group, said he wasn’t against a café “provided it put the community at its heart rather than being run purely as a commercial enterprise”.
Mr Brenner added: “We’d love to see something at City Road Basin that everyone can use and would also be a hub for volunteers who help look after the canal.”
The site consists of a single-storey building of about 30 metres just down from City Road lock. There is no access to vehicles and pedestrians can get access via Danbury Bridge. The operator would run the café from 7am to 8pm seven days a week. Ian Shacklock, chairman of Friends of Regent’s Canal, said he hoped to be able to work with the café operator. He added: “I was initially opposed the idea but the operator has improved the design. I want to see a community café for walkers and boat users. And I’m hoping the design studio will also include facilities for meetings for organisations like my own that deal with the canal.”
Developer Martin Savage said the proposal was for a simple café, offering users of the canal the opportunity to sit inside in colder weather, or to grab a coffee and snack and sit outside to enjoy the open water or watch the boats go through the lock as they travel along the Regent’s Canal.
“We are an independent operation, not funded by anyone else, and committed to employing staff within walking distance of the café, so adding a little bit to the local economy.”