The café at the centre of a legal battle with a local council has been honoured as ‘cycling café of the year’.
Velolife in Warren Row, Berkshire, near Maidenhead, faced closure after the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council tried to ban cyclists from meeting at the site.
But the café has now been crowned the People’s Choice at the Cyclist Café of the Year awards, hosted by by charity Cycling UK, two weeks after the council finally withdrew its legal action.
Velolife owner Lee Goodwin said: “We have been through a lot this year and to be part of such an amazing community, that is so much bigger than us, is amazing.
“It’s an honour to service such an incredible community and we are very proud to be chosen for the People’s Choice award.”
The legal battle started in October 2017 when the council issued an enforcement notice after a complaint from a neighbour, which sought to stop Velolife operating as a café, bicycle workshop, retail outlet and a meeting place.
Mr Goodwin appealed the notice and in October last year a government planning inspector ruled that it was lawful for Velolife, formerly a pub, to be run as a café and workshop.
In a bizarre move, the council then issued a threat of legal action to cycling clubs meeting at the cafe, warning that it was investigating whether any crimes had been committed. The authority later withdrew the threat to clubs and apologised.
That did not stop the council from pursuing an injunction, which would have meant Mr Goodwin was in contempt of court if it was breached and could have seen him jailed.
On Thursday, November 14 Mr Goodwin’s lawyers at Leigh Day confirmed that Windsor and Maidenhead council had withdrawn the application for an injunction.
Hannah Duncan from Cycling UK said: “There was some pretty stiff competition this year across all the home nations for the top café choices for cyclists in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and all the winners are well worth making a detour for. Particular mention should go to Bank View Café in South Yorkshire, which received the Lifetime Achievement award for delivering more than 100 years of service to Britain’s cyclists.
“When it came to the People’s Choice award though, there could be only one: Velolife! The owner Lee has been through hell and back over the last two years, so it’s heart warming to see the cycling community get behind his amazing café and recognise the great café Maidenhead is very lucky to have.”
Other cafes receiving awards include The Feed Station in Somerset, The Auction Room in Northern Ireland, Lanterne Rouge in Scotland, Pedal Power in Cardiff and Bank View Café in South Yorkshire.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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