Protest sign installed at cafe in Ramsgate over fears double yellow lines will force business to close

The protest sign at Stewart's Cafe

A protest sign has been installed on the front of Stewart’s Café in Ramsgate objecting to Kent County Council’s placing of double yellow lines around the business.

The café, in Margate Road, had been running since 1979 and is owned by ‘Stewart’ Ozzy with son-in-law Nuh Köksal.

Nuh says the lines will have a massive impact and supporters warn the business could even be forced to close.

The restrictions have been ordered for Coleman Crescent, Madeira Walk and Margate Road in Ramsgate and St Peter’s Park Road in Broadstairs.

Kent County Council says this is to help improve Stagecoach’s Loop bus service, listing reasons as:

  • for avoiding danger to persons or other traffic using the road or any other road or for preventing the likelihood of any such danger arising.
  • for facilitating the passage on the road or any other road of any class of traffic (including pedestrians).
  • for preventing damage to the road or to any building on or near the road.
  • for preserving or improving the amenities of the area through which the road runs.

But protestors, including County Councillor Karen Constantine, say there has been no evidence to show the lines are needed in the area by the café.

Nuh said: “This will affect people who drive to us. If they can’t park outside they can’t have their food.

“We are a  small business where people can park outside and walk in to eat and then go.”

Previously Nuh said the restrictions were not necessary, adding: “The road is large enough to allow parking and for traffic to continue moving. The issue is the lack of parking for residents, especially if they have multiple vehicles.

“The real issue is parking spaces and the lack of regulation of improper parking, such as at junctions.”

The café provided a petition signed by nearly 300 customers who are opposed to the yellow lines being installed.

Karen Constantine

The business is being supported by Cllr Constantine, who said: “I applaud the efforts by Stewart’s café owner, Nuh, and his staff and regular customers. Kent County Council simply haven’t listened or responded to the genuinely held concerns that the application of new double yellow lines will significantly impact this business – possibly leading to its closure.

“It is true that a great number of people rely on Stewart’s for fresh daily food. They most often arrive by car. This includes local residents, particularly the elderly who cannot shop and cook for themselves as easily as they used to. It also used by workmen who very frequently stop by for breakfast and lunch.

“Food at Stewart’s is plentiful, nutritious and offers excellent value for money. Nuh has worked hard and invested in the cafe over the years and has built a very successful business which Kent County Council is now jeopardising.

“This is an appalling situation given the service Stewart’s cafe provides to the community, especially during the cost of living crisis which is impacting everybody.

“To date Kent County Council has failed to provide an adequate explanation as to why it is applying double yellow lines here, beyond saying their plan is to speed up the Loop bus service. They offer no evidence and have not taken into account the impact on this business and its customers.

Stewart’s Cafe

“I am now asking again for a proper explanation of how double yellow lines in this particular location will serve to speed up the Loop bus service, and for an Equality Impact Assessment because I believe the elderly who use this café regularly will be put to a detriment.

“Kent County Council was awarded this money from Central Government and having accepted the cash, is failing to spend it wisely. In this case, I fear this so-called improvement is mere window-dressing prior to the forthcoming General Election. Of course local people see straight through it.

“I hope Kent County Council will start to listen.”

‘Time savings’

A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson said: “Improving the Thanet Loop bus service is a key aim set out in KCC’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.

“Our proposal seeks to repurpose a small area of parking in the immediate area of the business, with plenty of parking being retained in the surrounding area. Our proposal also seeks to reduce incidents of parking in unofficial spaces, which risk blocking the view of a pedestrian crossing, and visibility at the junction of Coleman Crescent / A254 Margate Road.

“By making these changes we will help to streamline bus journeys by reducing pinch points which slow the bus down to generate time savings, while improving safety for all road users.

“Areas where we are proposing to change parking arrangements were identified through an extensive review of bus journey times, reliability statistics, site visits and feedback from the operator.

“We will continue to listen to the views of local people, engaging with operators, passengers and members of the public.”

In response to a complaint lodged by one customer who has used the cafe for 10 years, KCC said: “The proposed parking restrictions in the area around the Café are necessary in response to the problems created by regular inconsiderate parking near junctions, traffic islands and on existing white hatching, which subsequently increase the risk to highway safety and impact on the free flow of larger vehicles (including buses).

“While the immediate area around businesses will see a small net reduction of informal parking availability, most of the proposed parking restrictions are located in areas where vehicles are often parked inappropriately.

The changes in this area will result in the loss of parking space on the southbound carriageway of Margate Road for up to 4 standard cars, opposite the Café.”

44 Comments

    • Well folks I had lunch at Stewarts Cafe today (Shepherds Pie), and guess what someone has nicked the banner! Why should anyone do this? Nuh, one of the proprietors, said I think its because the banner must have upset someone, but who? I know, its some local Tory councillor, who may be upset because the KCC Councillor responsible for more double yellow lines in and around the cafe, is being investigated after a complaint has been made they are unnecessary!

      No evidence has been provided by KCC, but they are going ahead anyway, which could mean ruin for the 2 families who run the business, and the loss of dinners and breakfasts for the hundreds of people who eat there, and will be unable to park! The vast majority of customers arrive in a car, or works vehicle, and if they can’t park, this could destroy the business that has been there for the last 45 years! KCC claim there is a “Congestion Hotspot” there, but they can’t prove it, and any observation will prove this is untrue. In fact two Loop buses have been observed passing each other, even when cars are parked either side of the road!

      This is all down to the Tory government giving KCC £1 million to “improve” the Loop bus service, but more yellow lines won’t make one iota of difference, as there is NO Congestion hot point outside the cafe! My guess is no one from KCC even came to have a look, and carried out their survey from their office looking at Google Earth! Don’t vote Tory, they never listen!

  1. Strangely Cllr Constantine is making comments when she fails to show at the meeting where the implementation of these restrictions were discussed.. Then again she rarely or never attends most meetings…!

    • In 2014 a decision was taken (and voted through by the ruling KCC conservatives) not to record attendance at council meetings.

      Since 2017 I have in fact attended almost every full council meeting and most of the other committees I sit on. I prepare well for those meetings, I ask and submit questions – in fact I’m a bit of a pain in the you know where. There are other councillors who really make a sound, really comment. I was absent at the JTB which has very recently reconvened after being in abeyance – but you have no way of knowing what conversation took place with officers and other staff. And I know all too well that despite keen insightful questioning, and despite seeking improved decision making the Tories never take any notice. Not too mention there’s much much more to bring an effective councillor than sitting in meetings.

      So representing 43,000 people, living in Ramsgate’s seven wards since 2017, through David Cameron’s Austerity, Covid and the Cost of Living crisis has been anything but a picnic. And of course I have kept a detailed website – I’m not aware of anyone else doing this? Have a look at what we really have to deal with as caring councillors The Universal Credit sweepstake – Karen Constantine, Labour The ruling conservatives have has a compassion and common sense by-pass.

      In coming months – you’ll be able to stand for Kent County Council yourself soon – but I won’t hold my breath.

      • Wouldn’t it be far better to ignore people who post anonymously? Or do you feel undervalued? Never mind you will feel better when you have moved.

  2. The parking on Margate rd is terrible.
    The buses have to weave in and out as people park inconsiderate.
    How many accidents have there been on Margate rd . Answer a few including people getting run over .
    The only people to blame is the bad parking drivers .
    And as for the sign it’s not stagecoach trying to shut cafe down it’s down to KCC .

  3. I wouldn’t worry about the double yellow lines they don’t up boundary rd ,outside the pub , half on the path aswell , must be where the local traffic warden drinks .

    • If the traffic wardens ventured up Boundary Road at about 5pm every day they could issue enough tickets to pay their salaries many times over.

      Also, if the Police stopped the drivers of these vehicles when they drive off after spending hours in the pub, their drink driving stats would significantly increase because they sure aren’t in there drinking orange juice.

  4. There’s plenty of space outside that cafe to park several cars.

    Problem solved.

    … and why are people driving to a cafe anyway, something wrong with their legs?

    • As usual Ms Pink (AKA Peter Checksfield) has to take the wrong side! I have been using the cafe for 10 years for my lunch, and the customers range from new born to into their 90’s. Whole family groups, with many elderly, and disabled people have their lunch there too, and most workers arrive in their work vans etc.

      No factual proof has been shown yellow lines are needed in and around the cafe by KCC, its about unthinking, unsubstantiated hearsay from a few bus drivers. I have yet to see a traffic jam or buses being held up at this point, and quite often there is no traffic in either direction! The government have given KCC £1 million to”improve” the Loop bus service, and my guess is they didn’t even get out of their offices, but took a quick look on Google earth to come up with this nonsense, which will destroy the lives of 2 families, without any evidence double yellow lines are needed in and around the cafe! Thats the Tory’s for you they never listen, even when nearly 300 people sign a petition against the yellow lines!

  5. The main hazard along the Margate Road are the stupid islands they put in the middle of the road some years ago, all the traffic lights display against each other causing traffic jams none of the traffic lights are set right the ones at Pysons Road Junction are ALWAYS being jumped on red, the guy lives near the corner with the junk cars in his garden and out on the road parks his vehicles in anywhere he wants causing an hazard. The pelican crossing outside Tesco causes the roundabout to block. One can tell those responsible for the Margate traffic lights and islands should be ashamed of themselves they must be utterly incompetent.

  6. I wouldn’t worry they only have 2 traffic wardens for the district. The yellow lines are simply a new ‘art installation’ paid for by the tax payer great use of money. I for one applaud it the paint might fill in some of the potholes. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well in text.

  7. I am an ex bus driver, and have driven past Stewart’s cafe many hundreds of times on the loop bus route.
    I have NEVER had cause to ‘weave in and out of parked cars there’ as one contributor has opined above.
    Also, I never heard of any safety issues in that area involving any Loop bus, if there had been we would all have heard about it at the garage.
    Why this business is being threatened by this senseless implementation of yellow Ines is beyond my comprehension.
    Absolutely un-called for lunacy promoted by somebody who has never driven a bus in their life.

  8. Well said Ton, Ramsgate Town Council is behind it you can bet on that, they and KCC need investigating you’ve only got to look who some of the councillors are to see that. Look at the hate campaign they have had about Manston Airport.

    • What “hate campaign” was that ? I noticed one by airport supporters against non-airport supporters, but not one by RTC.

    • Ken its Craig Mackinlay that is behind this! The government gave KCC £1 million pound to “improve” the Loop bus service, so its down to him to make sure the money is used wisely, which in this case it isn’t. There is NO factual evidence from KCC that double yellow kines in and around Stewarts Cafe will make one iota of difference to the Loop bus service. But what it will do is move local residents cars where they are parked legally at present, fighting for the last few parking spaces that will be left after the lines have been installed! This must impact on the cafe’s trade, and could lead to the 2 families who lease the property to close, leaving them homeless! And finally, where else in Thanet can you get traditional English food, including a choice of 5 different roasts, Shepherds pie, a lambs liver dinner, and even a vegetarian option! The closure of the cafe will see a community asset destroyed, along with the staff, and the best food in Thanet! Shame on you Mr Mackinlay, and Neil Baker the Tory KCC Councillor who authorised this work!

      • If they really want to improve the loop, they need to extend it around ALL of Thanet instead of just the towns.

  9. “The changes in this area will result in the loss of parking space on the southbound carriageway of Margate Road for up to 4 standard cars, opposite the Café.”
    If the cafe’s future depends on 4 customers, it’s sailing very close to the wind.
    And if parking is permitted, there is nothing to say that the spaces are reserved for café customers. Anyone could park there.
    But the situation is absurd.
    Cllr Constantine is arguing that Loop bus passengers should suffer prolonged journey times, on the off-chance that a very small handful of extra customers visit the café. Given that there are 6 buses an hour, and at busy times a bus could have 50 people on it, you have the situation that 300 passenger journeys are disrupted just so that 3 or 4 people can enjoy a nutritious and healthy bacon, sausage, fried bread etc breakfast.
    As for the challenges facing less able people: blue badge holders can park (almost) anyehere; alternatively, get a mobility scooter.

    • Andrew you have got it all wrong! I have had my lunch at Stewarts cafe for over ten years, and despite being retired get there and back by bike, but the majority of people are either workers, elderly, or disabled, and young mums with babies who arrive by car! The staff produced over a 100 meals a day during Lockdown, delivered to customers homes, at no extra charge, after they had phoned in their order. I for one one would probably have starved without this wonderful service, as the many types of Meals on Wheels etc are nothing short of slops!

    • No-I’m asking for an open dialogue with KCC and a compromise solution for this valued business. KCC have failed to demonstrate that restricting this business will in any way speed up the Loop service. And ask yourself this – Stagecoach is a private company now receiving a huge boost through the public purse! Why?

      • Stagecoach is receiving a huge boost through the public purse because so few people are using buses, and otherwise we could have NONE! Karen, how often do you use buses in Thanet?

      • You might equally ask why this private enterprise is having free parking facilitated at the public expense.
        Margate Road is the public highway, paid for and maintained at public expense. Yet this café expects to use some of it for its customers’ convenience.

      • Bus services are a vital lifeline for some, and have the potential for making town centres much better places, by taking cars off the road.
        I’m sure Karen Constantine knows why Stagecoach routes are being subsidised. Margaret Thatcher deregularized bus services, took them out of Local Authority control, and floated (or sank) them on the open market.
        Commercial enterprise such as Stagecoach are in business to make money, not provide a service. In consequence, bus routes are chopped if they don’t make enough money. So, for example, there is no direct route from Ramsgate to Canterbury; several routes that do still have a bus see one every 1½ hours, but none in the evening or on Sundayd; Reculver has 2 buses a day, and Tillmanstone is now only accessible by car.
        As a Labour Councillor, I expect Ms Constantine is looking forward to a Labour government and a Labour KCC, so that bus services can be brought back “in house”, and run for the benefit of local communities rather than foreign investors.
        Then, since most of the café patrons will be arriving by bus (using their Concessionary Bus Passes), there will no longer be a parking issue for the very, very few who really do need to drive.

        • I’d be curious to know where Labour would get the money to run empty buses from Reculver, Preston, Nonnington, etc. I’d love to see more buses as much as anyone, but – as proven by the comments on this article – many are too car-centric to care.

        • It is the policy of the kent county labour group to introduce the TRANSPORT for KENT project which would allow the public to decide bus routes and pricing rather than private bus companies. Please contact me for further details, as i am the Labour spokesperson on transport

          • Don’t you think the government’s current £2 cap on fares isreasonable enough? If not, how are you going to find the funding, particularly on routes that often have no more than 3 or 4 passengers?

    • Andrew,
      Your assertions are fanciful, inaccurate, laughable , selfish and also show no appreciation of why many people need blue badges.
      What goes on in your head is something from fiction. You have ‘not a clue’ along with a vivid imagination of the true facts.

      • What have Blue Badges got to do with anything?
        A holder can park virtually anywhere, as long as it’s not a danger nor an obstruction.
        I’d be pleased if you would explain why you think that “Your assertions are fanciful, inaccurate, laughable , selfish …”?

      • Funding will come from
        Increased usage with more bus services being used by people who do not use the service due to bus routes more akin to their needs, e g night economy and rural areas

        • Again, it is existing routes on bus routes that are struggling (and subsequently being axed) due to very low usage.

          I do hope you regularly use buses to travel beyond Thanet?

  10. It’s a pity they don’t put yellow lines around all these council offices we’ve got far too many parish councils town councils really we only need one District Council, what good are these councillors anyway other than strutting about full of their own importance sponging off the local taxpayers.

  11. The paths are wide enough to make 1 big lay bye
    Where are all the residents going to park
    Once again Kcc over ruling locals

  12. Also just published on Google news
    Ramsgate has the 2nd highest car parking charges in the UK so where’s all that money going

  13. I personally don’t vote because they are all crocks, that’s my choice , but all you others do vote these fools in power , I bet some councillor has a family member or friend who owns a cafe or wants to open up a cafe near by , so if you can’t get to stuarts they will hope your all move on . With the council yiu need to look steps ahead of them, I’d like to be able to sat what I really think but that’s not allowed.

  14. Well Mrs Dawes is about to lose the Manston Airport JR maybe she can start another JR against KCC and TDC/RTC.

  15. It doesn’t matter much if she does. It’s the geographical position of the ex-airport which makes it so unlikely to have a successful cargo hub airport.

  16. They paint these lines everywhere, no one takes any notice of them anyway TDC don’t have enough parking enforcement officers so people just park where they like even on pavements – I see cars parked on double yellows all day every day in Ramsgate and a many in Broadstairs, it’s like they don’t apply to them.

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