Vegan café plan for Honiton TIC building supported – but fears raised about children running ‘into path of cars’

PUBLISHED: 10:48 08 January 2020

The Tourist Information Centre, Honiton. Picture: Alex Walton

The Tourist Information Centre, Honiton. Picture: Alex Walton


Town planners have voiced concerns about children running in front of cars while debating – and supporting – an application to turn the town’s old tourist information centre into a café.

The Accidental Vegan Cafe, in New Street, Honiton.The Accidental Vegan Cafe, in New Street, Honiton.

Honiton Town Council's planning committee noted their safety fears while discussing a change-of-use application for the building, in Lace Walk car park.

Applicant Petra Bright, who owns The Accidential Vegan Café in New Street, wants to move to bigger premises, and has earmarked the unit - last occupied by bloodbikes charity Devon Freewheelers - as the next venture for the business.

Councillor John Zarczynski said: "I think the proposal is a good idea.

"It is something different and something we have not got in the town. It will make use of the building. I am surprised at how quickly the Freewheelers left.

"It gives visitors to the town a choice whether to use this one or other cafés."

Cllr Terry Darrant said the proposal would 'hopefully generate more footfall' to Lace Walk, which contains a few empty retail units in the main walkway.

The application proposed an outdoor seating area for 16, and internal seating for 20.

Town council deputy clerk Heloise Marlow told the committee no information has been provided about the outdoor seating area.

She said: "The application does not have provide any details as to where its going to be or how its going to be.

"I am assuming if she [the applicant] gets change of use, she will have to submit another application for external amendments she wishes to make.

"This is just a change of use application, anything else is up to East Devon District Council. She may need to apply for planning permission to do other things."

Committee chair Roy Coombs said he was concerned about the potential safety risks associated with having an outdoor seating area in a busy car park.

He said: "If there's outdoor seating and if there's young children running about, they might run into the path of cars.

"My concern would be if the outside seating is essential, it could make it very difficult for the applicant to get permission and then find out they cannot get outside seating."

Councillors unanimously agreed to support the application, but note safety concerns about the outside seating area with regards to children.

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