People power saves popular Wimbledon café Coffee Cup from closure

People power has saved a popular Wimbledon community café from being converted into flats but now a new battle is being launched to keep the outside seating area.

The owners of Coffee Cup on Effra Road were given a six-month ultimatum to clear the premises but have been rescued by a petition from residents keen to keep their coffee local.

More than 100 people supported the campaign to stop landlord Robert Shapiro converting to the building into a studio flat.

Stephen and Adele Theron, who have run Coffee Cup for three years, told SW Londoner that they have ‘brought the community together’ with their café.

After leasing the property three years ago the couple have seen three different landlords in three years.

Having received no complaints before Mr Theron found it ‘bizarre’ that Mr Shapiro would wish to close a popular and stable business.

Mr Theron, 45, told SWL about a previous petition they ran to gain a restaurant licence, which gathered more than 200 signatures after a ‘neighbour from hell’ complained about the Coffee Cup serving food without the licence.

The neighbour has complained again to the council and the Therons have had to start building a soundproof wall and put flower arrangements in the outside area to limit seating space.

They also face a ban on customers sitting outside on weekdays between 5-7pm.

Mr Theron explained this rule would effectively cost them 40 hours of business a month, particularly in warm weather when customers like to sun themselves in the peak hours.

He said: “There’s a need for what we do. This just defies common sense and proves how difficult it is for small businesses.”

Despite facing these restrictions from the council he is pleased with the community support shown through petitions which have helped keep the popular café open.

The successful bid to stay open is a small victory for a Wimbledon business but Mr Theron was not confident of overturning the 5-7pm limit.

Picture courtesy of Robertas, with thanks

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