Fed and Watered’s owners, Ryton, were “devastated” when the closure was ordered
The future of the popular Ryton cafe and community center was in question after Gateshead City Council rejected a subsequent planning application for the building.
Fed and Watered at Middle Hedgefield Farm has been in operation for 18 months and was built during the pandemic. Since then, the cafe has become an integral part of the community, offering activities to combat childhood obesity, create a safe space for disabled children, and combat the loneliness of the elderly and bereaved.
However, the local authority concluded that the cafe had an “unacceptable” impact on road safety due to city officials’ concerns about increased traffic at the cafe’s western entrance. The entrance also serves as access to St. Hilda’s Church.
The Council’s Planning and Development Committee also found the cafe to be “inadequate” for the green belt.
However, the cafe’s owners, who also operate Jack and Jo’s Nursery Garden on the same site, say there have been no traffic accidents in 18 months. The owners also disputed the cafe’s impact on the green belt, as the property in question was already developed.
The local authority planning committee also confirmed that it had received 14 letters in support of the cafe. Local residents wrote that the cafe serves important community functions, providing jobs and volunteering opportunities for people with diverse needs.
Gateshead Council’s Development and Planning Committee voted 16 to 1 to refuse planning permission.
The only dissenting councilor, Whickham South and sunniside Lib Dem Jonathan Mohammed, said: “Have we seen a sharp increase in attendance? It has been open and operational for some time and served as a day care center for a time.
“It seems like a nice little community hub and it would be a shame if we just assumed there will be a lot of extra traffic. There aren’t many blankets, it’s a small cafe.
“It certainly doesn’t block the landscape or the view. The green belt thing doesn’t fit in there. It is an institution that serves the community.”
Bob Goldsworthy, Bridges Councilman and Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, responded: “Well, that’s your opinion.”
Co-owner Joanne Stanton said after the decision: “Obviously this is devastating. We have school children, widows and grieving husbands.
“Seventy-year-old parents of disabled children come here to take a break. The gardens are like therapy for me and it’s great to be able to give them to someone else.”
Joanne now plans to appeal the council’s decision.
https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23540910.owners-fed-watered-ryton-devastated-ordered-close/?ref=rss Fed and Watered’s owners, Ryton, were “devastated” when the closure was ordered