An Eden-based caterer has been granted “greater flexibility” as part of revised operating hours for her hospitality business.
Kathleen Twentyman, of Applegarth Foods, applied to the district council in order to vary a couple of “restrictive and onerous” conditions which had been placed on her planning permission for a live-work application on land adjacent to Fernbank, Great Stickland.
Nick Atkinson, Eden’s planning services development manager, said conditions were needed to allow the business to operate, while also continuing to preserve and offer sufficient protection to the amenity of neighbouring residents.
Applegarth Foods provides catering for corporate events, weddings, parties and funerals, while also making a range of traybakes, cakes, biscuits and steak pies which are available from selected food outlets in the Eden Valley.
Objector Martin Harvey said: “My family and I have lived at Fernbank for nearly 20 years. We wish to object to the proposed extension of operating hours that is contrary to the decision made in July, 2020, to ensure the appliant’s business will not operate at unsociable hours and adversely impact upon the amenity of adjacent neighbouring properties.
“We accept that the green field site next to our house is going to be built on. We accept the applicant’s business should be afforded opportunities to grow and flourish, but councillors we can’t accept that the applicant’s business should be allowed to operate seven days a week, with the now proposed increase in hours, allowing non-resident staff to work from 7am to 9.30pm – this will cause nuisance to our day-to-day lives.”
He added: “The proposed working hours will disturb our sleep, disrupt our day-to-day existence and cause us some anxiety.”
In addition, Mr Harvey said: “Increased traffic, increased noise and light pollution and increased activity would detrimentally change the character of this tranquil area forever.”
Gwyn Clark, speaking on behalf of Mrs Twentyman, said she had no intention of working at night time, but the hospitality business does require flexibility.
“One or two employees are sometimes needed to help into the evening preparing the buffet food for a function the next day. It isn’t always necessary, maybe once a week, but it is essential because food freshness is the key to the success of the business.
“Help is needed to prepare the sandwiches and other snacks to be served, plated up and cling-filmed onto trays and into the fridge, ready for delivery first thing the next morning and then to clean-up afterwards.”
Mr Clark said the latest that any of the staff have ever had to stay behind is until 9.30pm. This would generate one or two car movements as the employees leave for home.
“The business will not disturb the neighbours,” said Mr Clark.
Mike Eyles (Lib Dem, Penrith) moved the officer’s recommendation to grant approval for the varied conditions, subject to an agreement being reached over the rewording of one of them in order to address activity at the site between 9.30pm and and 11pm.
This followed a concern which was raised about the loading and unloading of vehicles after 9.30pm.
A new condition for its operating hours between 6pm and 9.30pm was agreed by the committee. Now the owner may be assisted by no more than two members of staff up until 9-30pm. In addition, any external lighting shall be motion censor operated.
These conditions would enable “greater flexibility” to allow the business to operate, while also continuing to preserve and offer sufficient protection to the amenity of neighbouring residents, said Mr Atkinson.