The controversial plans for improvements to Bakers Park in Newton Abbot have been resubmitted – and they could still see the end of a popular coffee kiosk.
Cllr Gordon Hook, the new Liberal Democrat leader of Teignbridge District Council, scrapped a previous improvement scheme for the park that had been proposed by the previous Conservative administration.
That scheme included a new pavilion, a refreshment kiosk with public toilets, an increase in car parking spaces from the existing 19 to 75 and could have seen the end of the popular ‘Coffee to Go’ van that locals had fought to save.
But the revised application, submitted at the end of June by Teignbridge District Council to itself, still includes the new refreshment kiosk which would replace the ‘Coffee to Go’ van
(Image: Stefanie Howard-Harding)
The revised plans include a new pavilion, which would comprise of changing rooms, a store room, public toilets, and the refreshment kiosk. The four tennis courts would also be resurfaced, new fencing around the northern boundary would be put in place, and the car park would be reconfigured.
Documents with the scheme state: “The regeneration of Bakers Park is to increase use for members of the public and to improve facilities for current users, such as the Sunday league football teams. The site shall also enable more visitors through expansion of the existing car park and refurbishment of the existing tennis courts.”
The description of the proposal states that the car park shall be expanded to approximately 39 spaces, although a traffic statement with the scheme says the existing 19 spaces will be marked out and three disabled spaces and two electric vehicle space will be provided, making a total of 24 spaces.
(Image: Daniel Clark)
The documents add that the refreshment kiosk with the new pavilion will operate all year round and the council would be seeking a tenant to manage it, and says: “Implementing this scheme to Bakers Park will help raise the areas profile and potentially reduce vandalism and anti-social behaviour that has become more prominent in recent years.”
The initial proposals that Cllr Hook had withdrawn received 48 objections and just three general comments, with no letters of support, while a petition calling for the retention of the Coffee to Go’ van had 653 signatures.
The petition was started by Stefanie Howard-Harding, but speaking after seeing the details of the new plans, she said: “Teignbridge District Council have done a complete U-turn and included in the new plans a kiosk, despite the petition calling for Coffee to Go to be saved. This is quite unacceptable behaviour and leaves many people greatly disappointed in the new council who I personally feel have behaved in a way that shows a lack of care.
“The owner is being made to choose between paying for a kiosk she doesn’t need or want and work for the council or lose the business she has built over five years.
(Image: Daniel Clark)
“There were 650 people who signed the petition against the kiosk, asking the council to save Coffee to Go. On top of this, Wolborough residents association who represents 300 members of the community have also raised objections.
“This is not over by a long shot. The council have grossly underestimated how important this cause is. This isn’t just about a small business anymore. It’s about the level of disrespect shown to everyone in our community and those who signed the petition.”
Posting on Facebook, Ly-Ann Ordanez, who has been running the small van for five years added: “Unfortunately the council still seems to include the refreshment kiosk in the new plan. I hope that you my loyal customers will let Teignbridge know that it is unnecessary to have the kiosk in our park and support Coffee To Go.”
(Image: Ly-Ann Ordanez)
Back in March, the council agreed to spend £705,000 of funds, all from section 106 contributions from developers, on the park.
Of that, £489,000 has to be spent on Bakers Park and cannot be spent anywhere else.
The s106 funds are time limited and must be paid back to the developer if not spent by the agreed date, although there is around another four and a half years whereby the funds have to be spent by.
Teignbridge District Council’s planning committee will determine the fate of the application at a later date.