Council bans Salhouse café owner from looking at rival as tensions in village rise
- Credit: Archant
It started out as a battle for customers between two rival cafés in a seemingly quiet Norfolk village.
But an ongoing dispute involving the owners of Radley's coffee shop and Prima Rosa in the Broads village of Salhouse has ended with legal action.
Now, Kerry Radley, who closed her business in September, is banned from looking at her rival's neighbouring café under certain conditions.
She has been made subject to a Community Protection Notice (CPN) following complaints made about her to Broadland District Council for causing 'anxiety' to the owners of rival café Prima Rosa.
But the 45-year-old, who is appealing the order, claims she is the real victim and denies any wrongdoing.
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Under the conditions of the CPN, labelled as 'bonkers' by Miss Radley, she is banned from:
• Staring directly into Prima Rosa from any vehicle, moving or stationary.
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• Entering Prima Rosa for any purpose.
• Taking photographs of customers or friends of Prima Rosa without permission.
The district council gave her the order because they said they were 'satisfied' Miss Radley was responsible for 'persistent' 'unreasonable conduct'.
They said that included taking photos of friends of the Prima Rosa café owner, posting negative comments on social media about Prima Rosa and its owner, removing Prima Rosa advertising from around the village of 1,500 people and being 'aggressive and 'intimidating' towards the café's suppliers, customers and friends.
The council also accused her of parking near Prima Rosa on Lower Street and staring into it to 'intimidate' the owners - something she is now banned from doing.
But Ms Radley a mother-of-three said she had been subject to online 'trolling' and had her shop sign smeared with poo.
She has also said she had fake reviews about her business posted online, including one from a dead paratrooper who claimed to have purchased out-of-date crisps.
The dispute, mostly between supporters of either café, came to a head when Miss Radley received a warning letter from Broadland District Council in June.
Some of the conditions she was told to abide by included not entering Prima Rosa and not parking outside the café and staring in. Miss Radley denies ever doing so.
But weeks later she was accused of breaching the conditions and was served a CPN by a council officer.
'I burst into tears when they served it,' she said. 'It was really embarrassing and I had to shut the shop.'
She added: 'The conditions of the CPN are just ridiculous.'
The businesswoman said the ban on her staring at the café from a vehicle meant she could not drive by and look at it.
She said that was 'crazy' because she needed to look left at the café to pull up outside her business.
Miss Radley has since appealed the order and is due to be heard in court on February 1 next year.
She said her problems started shortly after she opened up Radley's, on Lower Street, in August 2014.
The yoga teacher, who has lived in Salhouse for around 20 years, said she had wanted to restore some of the amenities the village had been lacking.
She said she invested £75,000 in the business, which also served as a shop and Post Office.
But months later in May 2015, Salhouse parish councillor Martin Nudd and his wife opened up their own tearoom just metres away, Prima Rosa.
Miss Radley said it resulted in her losing a lot of summer trade as Prima Rosa was the first stop for people visiting from the broad.
She said despite working 70-hours-a-week the business stopped becoming viable.
'It was meant to be something for the community,' Miss Radley said. 'Ironically I've now ended up with a community protection order.'
She said her problems started just weeks after opening, with one person claiming the business was unhygienic.
Accusations and abusive comments were then posted on various Salhouse community pages.
Meanwhile, her signs started to go missing and she said one was even smeared with dog faeces.
'I was ridiculed online and some were calling my children half-breeds,' Miss Radley said.
She briefly shut her business at the start of this year before reopening in May.
It permanently closed in September.
Mr Nudd, from Prima Rosa café, said he had found it best 'not to comment' in order to prevent 'inflaming any situation'.
But he previously said he had 'no idea' of Miss Radley's plans when he and his wife put their bid in for the site in April 2014.
He added that the business were two 'completely different shops'.
What is a Community Protection Notice?
Community Protection Notices were introduced as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act in 2014.
It gives an authorised person, such as a council, the power to issue a notice to anyone aged 16 and over if their conduct is having a persistent negative effect on people living locally.
But the orders have also attracted criticism, with some campaign groups claiming it gives council officials too much authority.
A report by the Manifesto Club, which campaigns against what it calls 'hyper-regulation', said: 'CPNs are more likely to pass beneath the radar of public criticism and debate; they can also be used to target the individuals of which officials disapprove rather than stating restrictions that are nominally applicable to everyone.'
Breaching a CPN is a criminal offence and could lead to a fine or prosecution.
If an individual is convicted, they can be fined up to £2,500, while a company is liable to a fine up to £20,000.
Graffiti mural causes a stir
A large mural painted on the side of Radley's coffee shop over the summer also caused a stir in the village.
It led to a small article appearing in the Salhouse Saga village magazine, which asked readers for their views.
Miss Radley said the piece, painted by a graffiti artist, had brought in more customers.
But the magazine article asked how the work fitted in with the conservation area.
It said: 'You will no doubt have seen the painting on the side of Radley's Shop/cafe, but does anyone understand the story of meaning behind it?'
Malcolm Prestwood, editor, said: 'It is in a conservation area of the village and there has been a lot of comments about it, with some thinking it was graffiti.
'I decided to put in the village magazine to see what people thought.'
Miss Radley said she was looking to apply for change of use permission to allow for a residential property on her site.
Salhouse Parish Council
Miss Radley accused Salhouse Parish Council of blocking her from selling her building after she closed the cafe around March this year. It meant she had to reopen the cafe over the summer, rather than sell it, before closing again in September.
The parish council said it made an 'expression of interest' to bid for the premises, which was listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) several years ago.
Under the rules of an ACV, once a bid has been made, the sale of a building can be halted for six months.
A council spokesman said that in a meeting with Ms Radley she 'made it clear that she would not sell the premises under any circumstances to the parish council nor would she allow a commercial valuation of the property by the parish council'.
The parish council said it then contacted Broadland District Council to withdraw its expression of interest.