Council vote on opening hours change for Bald Builders’ Climping cafe ‘not undertaken correctly’

A council has apologised to The Bald Builders after a decision on changed opening hours at their café was not made on time.
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The Builders’ application to change opening hours at their Bald Kitchen café and drive-thru, in Climping, was considered by Arun District Council’s planning committee on March 2.

But the council has since written to the owners to apologise as a decision was not made on the day.

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In an email seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a council officer says that voting ‘was not undertaken correctly’.

Opening day of The Bald Kitchen near Climping last October. Pic S Robards SR2110273 SUS-211027-172404001Opening day of The Bald Kitchen near Climping last October. Pic S Robards SR2110273 SUS-211027-172404001
Opening day of The Bald Kitchen near Climping last October. Pic S Robards SR2110273 SUS-211027-172404001

“The councillors voted against the officer recommendation however they did not then take a second vote in respect of refusing the application and detailing the reasons,” the email reads.

“I apologise for the delay and would be grateful if you would agree to a further extension of time on this application.”

Because of this, the application is set to go back to the planning committee on April 27.

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

But the Bald Builders, aka Brad Hanson, from Littlehampton, and Sam Hughes, from Bognor Regis, put in a request to change the hours to between 10am and 4pm on Sundays so they did not ‘have to turn customers away’.

Mr Hanson said he had already been waiting since November for a decision to be made.

“Every other business in the area and the two businesses that are next to us are open 10am til 4pm,” he said.

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“It’s the same number of trading hours, in-keeping with everyone else – for the council to knock that back is ridiculous.”

Most members of the planning committee disagreed with officers’ recommendation to approve the change.

This followed a plea from a nearby resident who says she is already ‘severely impacted’ by ‘operating noise, light pollution and strong cooking odours’.

Ricky Bower (Con, East Preston) suggested opening hours are ‘restricted to one hour a day’.

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

But David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) disagreed and said the change would ‘not have a dramatically detrimental effect’.

A recording of the planning meeting on the council’s website is incomplete so the vote, and the councillors’ comments, cannot currently be viewed.

The Bald Builders took to social media to criticise the council, in a video shared with their 1.2 million followers.

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Mr Hanson said he 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.”

A spokesperson for Arun District Council said: “The planning committee met on March 2 and decided not to accept the recommendation in the officer report – to approve conditionally an extension to the Bald Kitchen’s Sunday opening hours.

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“There was no alternative decision made and as a result, the decision will be made at the next Planning Committee on April 27.”

The spokesperson said the livestream recording is not available because of a ‘number of technical problems’, adding that the council’s webcast providers are ‘working hard to resolve’ this.

More details on the application can be found at the council’s planning portal using the reference: CM/68/21/PL.

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