Cafe shelter plan backed despite concerns

Dereham Windmill. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Windmill. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Plans for an outdoor shelter at a cafe have been backed despite concerns it would attract anti-social behaviour.

Then Dereham Mayor Hilary Bushell wearing the chain in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt

Then Dereham Mayor Hilary Bushell wearing the chain in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

At a meeting of Dereham’s town council on Tuesday evening, councillors were asked their opinions on proposals from the Dereham Windmill Trust to build a shelter outside the windmill’s coffee shop on Greenfields Road.

Trust chairman Alan Ferguson said his favoured design was a so-called ‘lean-to’ shelter - a sloping roof attached to the side of the cafe and supported by wooden columns.

But councillor Hilary Bushell warned that a non-retractable shelter could spell trouble with youths.

“I’m concerned it could become a hive of youngsters gathering out there with their… whatever they’re doing.” said Ms Bushell. “We’ve all been young - would they be climbing onto the roof? Could they access the building itself?”


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Councillor Linda Monument said she shared Ms Bushell’s worries, but countered that she could see the benefits of a permanent shelter too.

“I was once caught in a torrential downpour up on the windmill field,” said Ms Monument. “That shelter would have been an absolute godsend. I came home completely drenched, so it might have some residual usefulness for people outside of cafe hours.”

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Mr Ferguson said the cafe was equipped with CCTV and that vandalism had swiftly been dealt with in the past by passing footage onto police. He added that any risks would have to be balanced against the benefits it brought.

The council gave their support for a shelter by majority vote, though Ms Bushell indicated she was still unhappy with the plan as it stood.

Though the windmill closed in March with the coronavirus outbreak and has yet to re-open, the cafe partly reopened in June.

“The coffee shop managed to reconfigure themselves so that they could offer a take-away service and it’s been very well received.” said Mr Ferguson.

Having sought pro bono advice from a consultant, Mr Ferguson said it was likely the trust would be given the required historic building permission, necessary to build so close to a Grade-II listed structure.

Mr Ferguson did not give a date for when the shelter might be built but said that planning would take longer than construction.

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