In 2018 Kelly Eroglu had an idea to open an independent coffee shop overlooking the ponds in Llantarnam. Her application goes to Torfaen Council’s planning committee tomorrow (18 August) where the report recommends that councillors refuse her plans.
You can download the full report on the council’s website. Kelly wrote this article about why she feels so passionate about her idea.
“My idea is to open a cycle-friendly coffee shop, on the edge of Llantarnam Lakes. The lakes are a real underestimated part of Cwmbran. They sit on the edge of Llantarnam Industrial estate and are home to several swans and many other birds.
“They belong to Cwmbran Angling Club and are a small non-profit charity. They have recently built disabled friendly fishing pegs and are really keen to promote the lakes to generate an income to keep improving the surroundings and keep it well maintained.
“However, due to the quiet location of the lakes, it is a haven for fly-tipping which is a crying shame, due to the danger and impact it can have on the resident wildlife.
“For over three years, the club and myself have been in regular contact as I approached them and asked them if I could place a coffee shop on the banking to the side of the lake. It was agreed as I would be able to sell daily fishing licences for the club as well as keeping a close eye on the lakes, provide toilets for the fishermen and manage the litter.”
“May 2018 was the date my pre-application was submitted. Fast forward to today (month 28 !) and I have literally torn my hair out with the whole circus of my application. I am over £7,000 down from expensive pointless reports/surveys and would not wish this stress upon my worse enemy.
“The main idea behind the coffee shop is to have it erected from used shipping containers and for it to be clad in reclaimed timber. An exterior living plant wall will also be erected to make it look ascetically pleasing along with making a great impact ecologically. Many pollinators such as lavender and Monarda (Bee Balm) will be included and I will also have information boards put up, to educate and inform people of the local habitats.
“A floating balcony will come close to the water’s edge, which will make it a tranquil place to sit and ponder and also help people with anxiety and learning difficulties relax. It is an extremely small plot and currently there are some trees that need to be removed, however after a tree survey to evaluate the trees, it will only be trees that are graded C and under that are removed.”
“In their place will be fruit trees such as wild Cherry, Apple and plum which I can incorporate into my recipes and show people the ‘seed to plate’ ethics. Fruit trees are also great pollinators and make great forage for bees.
“However, my main passion will be to run free cooking and finance classes for vulnerable teens, as I feel very passionate about this subject. It will be my part in giving back to the community and I will not be funded for it.
“Also mindfulness and good mental health classes will be run from the coffee shop by a very well known and respected psychologist, who has also submitted a letter to the planners supporting my application. These classes were included from day one of my application.
“As it is noted as a well-being coffee shop, the objective is for it to be mainly used by walkers, cyclists and local employees. I will provide safe and secure bike racks and will also incorporate a large viewing window, for cyclists’ piece of mind. Millions of pounds are being put into Welsh cycle routes and bike promotion, so surely this would fit perfectly into the health push.
“With regard to walkers, we are situated right on a historic walking trail and a stone’s throw away from the canal, so this is a great stopping and refuelling point for tired legs. I live in Llantarnam and we have several new housing estates that have recently popped up such as Redrow and Barratt Homes, as well as having lots of legacy residents, so this is sensibly located and well within walking distance. There are four bus stops within 100 yards for people that live out of reach.
“The car visitor has never been my main anticipated customer as it has been named as a cycle coffee shop, however 25 months into my application the planners have said they are going to push for refusal based on lack of parking, even though there are no yellow lines or parking restrictions.
“I am just a mere independent lady that wants to start a good business, that gives something back to the community, support a charity and get parents back into work by offering child-friendly hours.”
“I have had to jump through hoops for this, only for it to be made harder at every opportunity. Please see my application on the Torfaen council website and tell me if you can join the dots.”