An Eden businesswoman’s relocation plans have been dealt a blow after “restrictive” conditions were imposed by the district council’s planning committee.
Kathleen Twentyman, of Applegarth Foods, said she was dismayed to have had to make the case again to Eden councillors for her live-work application on land next to Fernbank, Great Strickland.
In June, she was granted permission for the construction of a two-storey house and a linked agricultural-style building to serve as the new premises for her established catering business, but a sticking point came with conditions which councillors had asked to be imposed before approval could be granted in order to protect the amenity interests of neighbouring residents.
Mrs Twentyman said conditions on working hours for members of staff and a limit to only 20 occasions each year, where staff members not resident at the site may assist in the work unit up to 8pm to cater for evening functions would be “so restrictive” they would make her business unsustainable.
At a virtual planning meeting held online, Mrs Twentyman said: “This whole matter has caused much anxiety and distress at a time when my business has already been devastated and taken an unprecedented downturn in demand as a result of COVID-19.
“To limit my business to only be able to operate with help in the evenings for up to 20 times a year is wholly unworkable and unreasonable. When I protested the only amendment was to allow myself to work in my own unit.
“Typically I have one or two helpers who may help in the evening up to 9pm for the next day or on occasions when we do functions on a steamer, the boat does not dock at Glenridding until 10pm, I will return home late.
“It is clear your planners don’t understand the nature of my business. My business needs flexibility.
“I will be forced to turn business away under such an onerous condition.
“The future sustainability of this whole project relies on the continuation and level of business I currently receive, not less.”
Kate Bellwood, speaking on behalf of objector Martin Harvey at Fernbank, said live-work units were complicated and the issue which had been raised over noise highlights this.
She said it was critical that councillors sitting on the planning committee forget who the applicant is and how popular her business, as the site could be sold to anyone from anywhere cooking anything tomorrow.
“Consider the noise of a commercial kitchen, clattering dishes, cuttlrey, pans, timers, roller shutters, engines, located so close to Fernbank. Please ensure the condition does what you know it needs to,” said Ms Bellwood.
She added: “If they want longer hours they should prove noise will not be harmful.
“A proper acoustic and odour plan will consider noise and smells from ovens, extaction, air con, fridges and ensure noise levels are acceptable.
“The business does cook on site so there will be odours, therefore noise related to those cooking elements. If the applicant wants more flexible use they should locate to a business park.”
Eden Council’s planning services development manager Nick Atkinson said: “We do believe that these conditions provide the business enough flexibility to operate, but at the same time achieve a level of protection which councillors requsted on the last occasion.”
Ian Chambers (Con, Eamont) said the planning committee had requested an operating condition be imposed at their last meeting and Eden’s officers had tried their best to come up with a resolution.
Debra Wicks (Con, Greystoke) said: “I did express concern when this application was passed regarding residential and business areas.”
It was agreed by the planning committee that the conditions proposed should be imposed.