Injunction application against cycle cafe dropped

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A council has dropped its injunction application against the owner of a cafe and bike workshop, Cycling UK said.

Velolife was set up on the site of an old pub as a cafe and bike workshop in 2016 by entrepreneur Lee Goodwin in Warren Row, Berkshire.

But last year a Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead inspector banned the cafe’s use as a meeting point for cyclists after neighbours said up to 20 had been congregating in the car park.

While the council dropped its threat of legal action against cyclists gathering at a cafe earlier this year, it informed Mr Goodwin he would need to ensure that clubs did not use it as a stop before, during or after organised rides.

To do so would “breach the terms of the draft injunction the council have sought” which could have led to him being jailed, Cycling UK said.

But British Cycling, Cycling UK and law firm Leigh Day announced on Thursday that the council had withdrawn its application for an injunction against Mr Goodwin.

The cafe was championed by the likes of former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman and Team Ineos rider Chris Lawless.

Following the announcement, Olympic gold medallist Boardman, who is a British Cycling policy adviser, said: “The withdrawal of this injunction is a long overdue victory for common sense, and more importantly ends over two years of senseless legal action and unnecessary disruption and anguish for Mr Goodwin, his family and his staff.

“Britain’s cycling cafes make a positive contribution to the local economy, they encourage and support people to cycle more regularly and are often a core part of the communities which they serve.

“They should never be subject to the types of punitive and vindictive measures we have seen here, nor should their customers, and I sincerely hope that this case will act as a strong deterrent to others who wish to pursue a similar path in the future.”

In a statement posted on social media, the council said it was pleased that after a meeting with Velolife an agreement had been reached.

It added: “We are pleased that following a constructive meeting between Velolife and the council that an agreement has been found which enables the cycling activities to continue whilst protecting the residential amenities.

Cycle cafe row
A council has dropped its injunction application against Velolife cafe and bicycle repair shop (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“We believe this may be possible with physical changes and controls to the Velolife car park that have been agreed by the management and leaseholders.”

Colin Walker, British Cycling’s lead cycling delivery manager, said: “Aside from putting the cafe owner’s livelihood at stake, the people who would’ve been hit by this most aren’t a group of antisocial thugs, they are simply people choosing to ride their bikes.

“At a time when we need to be encouraging people to move more and leave the car at home, discriminating against a group of people like this would have been a travesty and we’re relieved to see the council have finally woken up to this fact.

“I am incredibly proud of the way the cycling community came together on this issue, and the work that British Cycling has done alongside Cycling UK and Leigh Day to support Mr Goodwin and the affected local clubs over recent months, and we are pleased that he can now get on with running his business.”

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “Velolife should never have been put in this position by the council, but it’s a relief they have belatedly come to their senses, and the cafe can return to business as usual.

“A legitimate local business shouldn’t have to call on the support of national organisations like British Cycling and Cycling UK to ensure their survival – but I’m glad we were able to help mobilise public support and highlight the absurdity of the council’s position, so Velolife could stay open.”

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