Cycling clubs are perfectly entitled to stop at Velolife according to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead – there’s just a chance that the café could face legal action if they do. When questioned about this nonsensical position by Cycling UK, the council has so far refused to offer clarification.
Lee Goodwin, the owner of Velolife in Warren Row near Henley-on-Thames, was recently issued with an injunction ordering him to stop cyclists from meeting at the café.
This came about following complaints from a local resident about groups of cyclists congregating close to their property in the early mornings and evenings.
Enforcement notices were also issued to a number of local cycling clubs, warning them that they could face legal action should their members stop at Velolife during an organised ride.
Last week, after meeting with Cycling UK and British Cycling, the council apologised for the legal threat to cycling clubs and withdrew it.
Campaigners welcomed the news, but it later transpired that the council had simultaneously informed Goodwin that should a club stop at Velolife during an organised ride, it could lead to further action against him and his business.
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, says a number of questions remain unanswered.
“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 key questions Cycling UK is asking for answers on behalf of cyclists who wish to use the café are:
- What does ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ mean?
- What constitutes an organised ride?
- Whether a club ride stopping off at the café will be considered by the council to be a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ or an organised ride?
- If a club ride with an attendance at the café amounts to a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ as far as the council is concerned, whether that puts Mr Goodwin in breach of the terms of the draft order the Council have applied for if he allows them to attend?
In the absence of answers to those questions, Cycling UK can only inform local clubs that currently the position is that:
- The council have not withdrawn the threat of legal action against Velolife.
- The council still require Mr Goodwin and Velolife to comply with the terms of the draft injunction, pending a further court hearing in November.
- The council will review matters mid-September.
- In the interim, if the council considers that Mr Goodwin has breached the terms of the draft injunction, it may seek to bring the matter back to court to obtain an immediate injunction.
- The draft order refers to ‘Cyclists’ Meets’, and the council requires Mr Goodwin to ensure that no such ‘Cyclists’ Meets’ take place at the café, but have declined to clarify further what they mean by a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’.
- In the absence of such clarification, the council does not appear to have changed its position, and is proceeding on the basis that any gathering of cyclists for an organised ride (undefined) before, during or after a ride is a ‘Cyclists’ Meet’ which could lead to the council bringing this matter back to court to seek an immediate injunction.
- The council have been unable to provide any assurance that the mere attendance of cyclists and clubs at Velolife at the current time will not place Mr Goodwin in breach of the terms of the draft order the Council still seek.
Mr Dollimore added: “Mr Goodwin is now receiving independent legal advice concerning these proceedings, and it would therefore be inappropriate for Cycling UK to comment further on courses of action open to him.”