Bike Owned By Local Cafe Falls Foul Of Council Red Tape

Coffee Traveller quirky cycle deemed to be advert

aziza with coffee traveller bike
Aziza pictured with the bike by the river Thames


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The new owners of the Coffee Traveller cafe at Strand on the Green have been told they cannot use the quirky bicycle used to prop up a blackboard without permission from Hounslow Council.

Despite the bicycle having been used for the past three years by the previous owner, the Council has now told the new owners that it is in fact advertising a commercial premises.

Hounslow Highways have declared it 'an unauthorised advertisement' and say it needs planning consent.

Owners Ron and Aziza said, 'We took over the business on 30th September, 2019. The bicycle was placed at the bottom of Ship Alley) every day at 8 a. m. and taken back into the shop at closing time before 5pm.

'It was a source of many new clients who stroll along the river and who would otherwise have no knowledge of the coffee shop's existence. The Coffee Traveller and the quirky old bicycle is much loved by the local community and the Strand on the Green resident's committee has given us consent to place it there.'

To their surprise they received a letter from Hounslow Council giving them 48 hours to apply for permission or face a hefty fine. They say that since they have since stopped placing it there there has been a drop in new clients.

Aziza said, 'We find the whole scenario confusing. I have filled out forms for planning consent to place the 'temporary' sign there every day just to notice that the forms I painstakingly filled in are totally inappropriate for the situation. On the other hand the application for a licence to display a sign for a mobile business also seems inappropriate as we do not trade from the bicycle.'

Aziza says, 'The council say it is a commercial bike, not just any bike, and we need permission to leave it here, otherwise they are going to take it out. Only yesterday, people came in the café saying they didn't know we were here until they saw the bike. It's a bit annoying. The council should support small businesses, not make their life hard. Anyway we are following the rules as they asked.'

Chiswickians Happy To 'Travel' For Coffee

Aziza's partner Ron spent Sunday filling in the appropriate forms. He was surprised to see the Planning Portal calculated the fee at £366, which the couple say is not feasible for such a small business.

A video taken by a Brentford-based journalist John Dale highlighting the matter on The Coffee Traveller Facebook page has had 665 views within 2 days.

The couple have now alerted a local councillor to ask them to sort out whether they need planning permission or whether the bicycle falls under the licensing department.

The councillor said the matter did seen to have been 'heavily handled'.

The cafe opened at Strand-on-the Green in 2015 in the Thames Road premises formerly occupied by Ken Hammond butchers.

The interior of the Coffee Traveller is inspired by Central American coffee-houses which are often based in people's homes and consist of a number of small rooms rather than an open-plan cafe.

There are also tables at the back and seating in the garden. It attracts a variety of customers, from parents on the school run, to homeworkers who want a bit of a bolt-hole, to retired people.


December 11, 2019