A cycling café has launched a fundraising campaign to support its legal battle against a council, sparked after cyclists were banned from meeting there.
Velolife café in Berkshire has been embroiled in a dispute with Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council after the authority threatened legal action to stop riders using the site to meet before or after rides.
The council has argued that cyclists “cause a nuisance to nearby residents,” while Velolife owner Lee Goodwin said the argument has threatened the existence of the café.
Mr Goodwin launched a crowdfunding campaign on Saturday (August 24), in the hopes of raising money for the legal fight against the council, smashing the £15,000 target within two days.
At the time of writing Velolife, in Warren Row near Maidenhead, had received 854 donations totalling £17,264.
A spokesperson for the council said Mr Goodwin has been offered a way to avoid a court hearing and added the authority will meeting with him further to discuss.
Mr Goodwin said: “We find ourselves in a very difficult situation. Although we are a bicycle café, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council has started legal proceedings against us in order to stop cyclist attending the cafe in groups or gatherings.
“Unfortunately RBWM has given no clarification as to what constitutes a group or gathering.
“If we are not allowed to have cycling clubs or gatherings of cyclists or groups of cyclists (undefined) then we will not be able to continue trading. We were hoping to get this resolved through conversation and common sense however this has not been possible and we are now left with no other option than to fight this in court.”
He added that any proceeds left over will be donated to charity, half to Cycling UK and half to Qhubeka.
The council has previously threatened legal action against cycling clubs and has said it could take action that would “threaten the future of the café.”
RBWM issued an apology to clubs over the threat and has met with representatives from national governing body British Cycling and charity Cycling UK, but the dispute with the café has yet to be resolved.
Head of campaigns at Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore, said: “The situation currently is that the council says that it wants a café with a cycling theme to continue, but is nevertheless seeking an injunction to prevent the owner from permitting any ‘cyclists’ meets’.
“Understandably, the owner and local cycling clubs, who don’t want to jeopardise his business, would like to know what constitutes a ‘cyclists’ meet’, but despite Cycling UK’s attempts to clarify this, the council just won’t say.
“So, the council have applied to enforce an order, the terms of which it doesn’t understand and can’t clarify, but nevertheless one in which it expects Mr Goodwin to comply with in the interim. It’s absurd.”
The charity has urged the council to answer some key questions including what does ‘cyclists meet’ mean, what constitutes an organised ride, and does a club ride stopping at the café constitute a cyclists meet?”
According to Cycling UK, Velolife has to comply with the terms of a draft injunction before a further court hearing in November.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The council has offered Mr Goodwin a reasonable way to avoid the need for an injunction and are meeting with him further to pursue this. There is no clarity about what constitutes a cycle meet unless the courts issue an injunction and then the term would be clarified. The council have been clear that if Mr Goodwin manages the site in the short term, before implementing further controls, there will be no need to bring the matter to court at all.”
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