Upset cafe owner forced to close up after man complains about ‘smell of bacon’

One heartbroken café owner has revealed how she was forced to close her business after a neighbour complained about the smell of bacon and the sound of teacups clinking.

Emma Ayles, 47, set up her Caddy Shack eatery in a shipping container next to a rugby club last year and it quickly became a hit with locals. However she was forced to apply for retrospective planning permission after the local council received just three complaints about the cafe at Weymouth, Dorset.

Officials turned down her application and Emma was forced to lay off eight employees and also found herself out of a job on December 10. She says she was left "confused and shocked" by the decision after it became clear that only one of three complainants wanted the beloved Caddy Shack closed.

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The café, located in the car park of Weymouth and Portland Rugby Club, was built by Emma's husband, Jon, 50.

Emma said: "One person complained he can't hang his washing up because of the bacon smell and is disturbed by the sound of teaspoons stirring in cups. He also said people urinate against his fence – I doubt that, I serve 60-year-old grannies!

"Someone came down from South West Planning to assess us in October and in the report they said they're closing us down due to presumed noise in the summer months. How can someone presume that?

"Where Caddy Shack is and the seating area, there's wasteland and the road and then some wasteland again, so its not even properly next-door to anyone – the closest house is about 24m away. I'd understand if we had screaming kids and dogs but we don't – I have a lot of recently widowed customers.

"Its been brilliant for the local 50 plus community- they get out of their house and I get a lot of disabled people on mobility scooters. There's a special needs school, Wyvern Academy, who use me once a week. They take a lot of time so they don’t feel welcome anywhere else."

Emma added: "We installed a double glazed window and bamboo to help with the so-called noise and any privacy issues. And in the winter we usually don't even open."

Emma first set up the Caddy Shack at the rugby club in April 2022 with the landowners permission but after the complaints she was told she would have to apply for retrospective planning permission. In February 2023, the council's planning department refused to grant the permission on the grounds that the Caddy Shack did not provide access to toilets.

Emma informed the council that this was not the case and that customers are allowed to use the toilets in the rugby club but she was told she would have to appeal. The business owner said: "We are in discussions with the council at the minute about if we can move the shack further back.

"It'll cost thousands as we need to take it down and build it again and create a new pathway but I'm hoping I can still trade then. I can't wait another 18 months and go without trading.

"Luckily my husband has kept his job – he's a HTV mechanic – but he had been thinking about joining me full-time. Apart from this one man who is complaining about the smell and noise the other two complainants had just wanted us to to turn to face the rugby club and not the footpath – they said they don't want me going out of business."

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Emma is receiving help from the rugby club as they try to coordinate their next steps. She has also started a petition to save the Caddy Shack which has 2,730 signatures so far.

After hearing the news a lawyer at a local law firm also reached out to Emma offering legal advice for free. She said: "Eight people are out of jobs – a lot of them are students and so many people would come in and say 'can you give my daughter or son a job?' We're not a massive business but I've enjoyed working there. I bake my own cakes and they are very popular.

"No official document has come through to close me permanently but we thought it was best to shut for now. We don't think we are going to have any news until the new year- it's a waiting game."

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