High Street trader in Brackley has pavement furniture confiscated

Tony Hunter of Skins, Brackley had his cafe tables and chairs removed by the council.'130718M-E158
Tony Hunter of Skins, Brackley had his cafe tables and chairs removed by the council.'130718M-E158

A Brackley trader is counting the cost after council workers confiscated tables and chairs used by customers of his High Street cafe.

Tony Hunter of Skins motorcycle clothing store has successfully run a dual business on the high street for seven years.

Bikers from across the region visit to buy new leathers, and would often stay for a coffee and a snack as they chat with local riders on the patio furniture outside. But last Wednesday council workers arrived and began loading the tables, chairs and parasols onto the back of a lorry, with Mr Hunter immediately seeing a drop in business.

He said that although he had previously followed Highways Agency rules on advertising boards and furniture on the pavement and complied with an enforcement notice issued last year, he questioned the point of law the council was trying to enforce and decided to put the furniture out three weeks ago.

He said: “I’m just very disappointed it has got to the stage where a sensible conversation could not be had between the authorities to agree what we can and can’t do.”

He has received support from Jan Dean, chairman of Brackley Means Business.

She said: “Obviously I don’t know the full situation, but Tony runs a specialist business that brings people into the town. Surely something could have been done to resolve this positively? High street businesses need all the help they can get.”

Northants County Council said they had been asking Mr Hunter to apply for a license to have furniture on the pavement for the past year and issued an enforcement notice in September 2012 under rules about damage to the highway. It added it had common law power to remove obstructions from the highway.

NCC also say they have had a number of complaints from neighbours since 2011, including one disabled person who they say were not able to use the pavement.

The statement ends: “It is unfortunate that we have had to take this enforcement action, however Mr Hunter has had several opportunities to resolve the matter at an earlier stage.