A SCHEME to bolster facilities for an expanding and popular café and shop which has divided a North York Moors community has been approved.

The Rusty Bike cycle shop and cafe, on Black Horse Lane, in Swainby, received support from the national park authority’s planning committee after hearing extending its car park, cladding shipping containers with timber and extending its building would go some way to resolving tensions that had built up in the village.

The meeting was told the business was thriving and often attracted scores of customers throughout weekends and holidays, creating parking, traffic and noise issues in the residential area and narrow lane, which is the main access to the village.

Geoff Morgan, who runs the nearby Blacksmiths Arms, said planners had forced him to create 107 car parking spaces for his business and the proposed extra parking at The Rusty Bike would be “totally inadequate”.

He said it would be “ludicrous” to give “preferential treatment to businesses that happily flaunt the rules, regulations and approval processes, to the detriment and safety of village residents, plus those business that readily comply with the regulations”.

Objecting to the scheme, resident Steven Garbutt added: “The only solution I can see is to have a much smaller café with less outside seating to allow extra parking spaces.

“I was lead to believe the premises was to be a bike shop with only a few café tables for the bike sale and repair customers, which I have no objection. The proposed extension to the existing car park will not alleviate the problems or improve the safety on the road.”

However, the venture’s owner, John Nelson, told the committee 22 people had been employed there before the pandemic. He said: “As the interest in cycling grows our cycle business continues to expand.”

The members heard the business offers “a very good service to both residents of Swainby” as a much-needed social hub, and to visitors to the village.

Residents supporting the application said the extra car parking facilities would ease street parking congestion as well as making the cafe, which had become “a victim of its own success”, more accessible to visitors.

Responding to concerns over late-night noise from the business, Mr Nelson said during lockdown he set up a food delivery service, and with a next day order cut off at 8pm, meaning some food was cooked late into the evenings. In addition, a planning officers’ report to the meeting concluded the increase in car parking would improve the current issues regarding parking on the highway and the use, and the alterations proposed would not result in an unacceptable visual impact or increase in activity levels that would significantly affect neighbours.

Before members approved the scheme, there was a consensus the scheme would not resolve parking issues in Swainby, but it would go some way towards easing them.