Bald Builders frustrated after opening hours change is turned down

Thursday, 3 March 2022 20:50

By Jessica Hubbard - Local Democracy Reporter

Local social media stars the Bald Builders have reacted to the council’s decision to turn down amended opening hours at their Climping café.

The pair Brad Hanson, from Littlehampton, and Sam Hughes, from Bognor Regis, opened the Bald Kitchen drive-thru and café in Climping last October.

But Mr Hughes has voiced his ‘frustration’ at the council’s ‘ridiculous’ decision to turn down a change to opening hours.

Currently the café and drive-thru is allowed to open from 8am on a Sunday until 2pm – this was a planning condition when the café was approved last year.

But the Bald Builders put in a request to extend the hours to 4pm on Sundays so they did not ‘have to turn customers away’. Arun District Council’s planning committee refused the request on Wednesday (March 2) after hearing how it could affect local residents.

One of the Bald Builders, Mr Hughes, said: “Every other business in the area and the two businesses that are next to us are open 10am til 4pm.
“It’s the same number of trading hours, in-keeping with everyone else – for the council to knock that back is ridiculous.”

But one resident, who lives in a nearby cottage in the village, explained how the plans could affect her.

“My home is already severely impacted by the operating noise and light pollution from the café itself, engine noise, and pollution from customers’ vehicles during the 77 hours a week they’re currently allowed to open,” she said.

Planning officers had recommended approving the opening hours as they did not feel it would cause an unacceptable disturbance.

But Ricky Bower (Con, East Preston) disagreed and said he had ‘enormous sympathy’ for the resident. “What she has described is the very reason why I voted against the original application for the Bald Kitchen,” he said.

Alison Cooper (Con, Rustington East) said it was ‘too soon’ to make a decision as the business has only been open for a few months.

Meanwhile, Martin Lury (LDem, Bersted) said: “As somebody who’s lived next door to engines running, coaches running etc I know exactly how irritating that can be, and also how environmentally unpleasant.”

David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) was not against the proposal. “Personally, I don’t believe that it’s going to have a dramatically detrimental effect to open it for a further two hours,” he said.

Eight members of the committee voted against the proposal with two abstaining.

Sam Hughes has since voiced his frustration at the decision. He said, “We’ve had no noise complaints, we’ve had no rubbish complaints, we’ve had no traffic complaints. “We have people down there from all walks of life, from six month olds who watch our childrens’ cartoons, to a 92-year-old lady who came down for coffee and a cake.”

Mr Hughes felt he was ‘being discriminated against’ because of the way he looks. “I’m a middle-aged, slightly overweight, bald-headed, tattooed geezer,” he said. “I feel I’m being discriminated against by locals because of the way I look. “I’m going to do an event every Sunday 8 til 10 until they tell me I can move my hours – our followers will come down.”


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