Cafe, council in row over chairs

Nedlands Council went against a staff recommendation to conditionally approve its change-of-use application from lunch bar to restaurant at a committee meeting last week.

However, co-owner Karen Hughie-Williams said their four-month battle with the City of Nedlands was not over yet as the final decision would be made on December 15.

“It was approved at committee but somehow we have gotten caught up in the parking controversy at the whole centre,” Ms Hughie-Williams said.

“We don’t operate like a restaurant; a lot of our customers walk here and don’t stay for hours. They’re happy to buy a coffee and just perch for a moment.”

Mayor Max Hipkins said Hudson & Hughie had become a victim of its own success.

“It is probably too successful, given that it is pulling in cars from far away,”he said. “The area is certainly growing (with Aria Swanbourne apartments) so demand will continue to increase.

“However, there is a lot that could be done by the City independent to the business owners, such as more bike racks or meetings with various stakeholders working together to overcome parking issues.”

Co-owner Oliver Hudson said their application had received overwhelming support, with 520 customers signing their recent petition to council.

“We just need that little bit of grace,” he said. “This change-of-use would mean the difference between us making money to survive.”

Ms Hughie-Williams said she would have her fingers and toes crossed next Tuesday night.

“The week council made us remove the chairs was the first week we had made profit over break-even since we opened two years ago,” she said. “Everything is hinging on this.”