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Petition to find space for Otley's Dunnies cafe gains support
A petition to replace a well-loved Otley cafe has now attracted nearly 650 signatures.
Resident Ian Adamson only started the campaign last month but says it has been met with a groundswell of support.
Dunnies, or Wharfe View Cafe, has been boarded up for months now, awaiting demolition to make way for a new, 48-flat care home off Bridge Street.
The petition is backing MP Greg Mulholland’s (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) bid to get Gladman Care Homes to agree to include a replacement cafe as part of the riverside development.
Mr Adamson said: “The online petition has 575 signatures up to now, with another 14 coming in on the response section and another 50 paper signatures – so nearly 650 supporters in total.
“The strength and depth of feeling is clearly evident from the hundreds of comments that have accompanied the signatures.
“Dunnies is an Otley institution, part of its history, as much so as the Chippendale monument according to one person.
“I feel it would be a very heartless organisation that could move into an area and totally ignore such strength of feeling against their plans.”
The head of Gladman Care Homes, David Gladman, has ruled out the prospect of incorporating a publicly accessible cafe.
Mr Gladman, in his reply to Mr Mulholland, said restrictions that were placed on the home’s planning consent due to parking concerns “specifically prevents” it from being able to open up its bistro to the community.
He added that there was the possibility of a new cafe being built on a nearby, council-owned site, the cost of which Gladman would be willing to make a goodwill contribution towards.
Mr Mulholland said he was delighted to see the “fantastic progress” of the petition, which he has raised with both the developer and Leeds City Council.
The MP has written to the city council’s head of planning to question the rejection of Gladman’s publicly accessible coffee shop idea, and also to the Methodist Homes Association, which is involved in the development.
Dunnies, which closed on Sunday, February 2, served simple fare to residents, cyclists, motorcyclists and walkers, since 1925.
The petition can be viewed at change.org/en-GB/petitions/greg-mulholland-retain-dunnies-cafe-in-otley.
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