A CAFE in Haddenham has won its battle to remain open following a tense planning meeting.
Little Italy, in Fort End, faced being turned into a takeaway service if a bid to continue as a cafe had been rejected.
On Thursday a district planning committee voted narrowly to approve its retrospective change of use bid, after hearing claims that it added to a traffic nightmare for neighbours.
The bid was approved by a majority of seven to four, with one abstention. Politicians heard that although the business has been operating as a cafe for two years, it did not have planning permission.
Owner Simon Keeley told the meeting the cafe serves as a community hub, stating: “We’ve seen three generations sitting around the same table. It’s a lifeline for a lot of the seniors, many of them are here today, some have even said it’s given them a new lease of life.”
And his wife Catherine said: “Whether it would be possible to draw in enough money just from a takeaway, I’m not too sure.”
Neighbour Penny Sloane said chronic parking problems had hampered the cafe for the last two years. She said: “We’re experiencing a number of very real problems. I wish we weren’t, because the cafe’s great.”
Ward councillor Judy Brandis said: “Most people in the village like the cafe, and it’s good to see a thriving, quality business.
“Having said that, it does come at a price to the local residents, since the cafe has no designated parking in the most congested part of Haddenham. It should have at least seven spaces.”
She called for the floorspace to be reduced chairs at the front of the building to be removed.
A bid to defer the application, put forward by ward councillor Brian Foster, was defeated.