AN attempt is being made to bring back a pop-up café on Weymouth Rugby Club’s car park.

The previous café, the Caddy Shack, was forced to close after a retrospective planning application was rejected by Dorset Council.

A planning appeal upheld the council decision, which had been sparked by fears over smells and noise from the operation, although on every visit by council officers the site was quiet and no smells were noticed.

Since then thousands have signed a petition for a café to return to the site claiming it was popular with dog walkers, the rugby club and its supporters, and many local residents.

The pop-up café was forced to close in mid-December after the rugby club lost the planning appeal.

The latest application asks to site the converted shipping container, and associated seating, 75 metres east of the current site, closer to the rugby clubhouse with a new, flat roofed, enclosed seating area being created.

Said a planning agent for the rugby club: “The proposal will present no diminishment in the current levels of enjoyment experienced by neighbouring properties. Within the appeal dismissal the Planning Inspectorate concluded that the current location did not create excessive odours and that there was sufficient WC provision available within the Rugby Club. As the relocated proposal will be more than 100m+ from any neighbouring property, generation of excessive noise cannot be an issue.”

Comments on the new application, 2024/00504, remain open to the public until February 22nd.

Operator Emma Ayles said the business had run, successfully, for two years and was loved and appreciated by almost everyone.

The use started in April 2022 without planning permission with Weymouth and Portland Rugby Club making a formal application in June 2022 for a change of use to allow the Caddy Shack on part of the car park.

The application was formally refused by Dorset Council in February a year ago.

Said Ms Ayles in an online petition: “Our local food business is more than just an eatery – it’s an integral part of Dorset’s community fabric. We’ve celebrated birthdays here, shared meals with loved ones and created countless memories within the premises.”

The planning appeal decision, which upheld the council refusal, said that because the business was close to homes and much of its trade was outside there was a high potential for harmful noise to occur  – although the inspector rejected claims about cooking smells being a nuisance.

Said the Inspector: “The development has social and economic benefits as it provides employment opportunities for local people and facilities for the local community to use and enjoy. Additionally, the location of the development adjacent to the entrance to the rugby club car park does allow some natural surveillance and in turn, security benefit. However, these benefits are limited and outweighed by the harm that I have identified.”