Two independent coffee businesses are petitioning to continue running in a popular community hotspot- after Bury Council asked them to cease trading in an area of Tottington.
Small businesses Little Leopard Coffee and Love, Love Me Brew occupy a spot on South Royd Street at the weekends. Love, Love Me Brew operates in a vintage horse box on a Saturday and Little Leopard operates in a vintage caravan on a Sunday.
Both coffee vans have street trading licenses but last week, Bury Council contacted them to order them to cease trading in the area with immediate effect, which the van owners’ claim was due to a complaint over noise. However, in a statement the council has said the vans need to ‘ask for permission’ to trade on the land.
READMORE: Council gives popular coffee cart marching orders in row over town center street traders
But losing the popular beauty spot will be financially detrimental for both coffee businesses, who rely on loyal customers and visitors of the Kirklees Trail to keep going. And Amy Wilson, founder of The Little Leopard Coffee, said she was incredibly disappointed at the news.
The 31-year-old said: “The Little Leopard Coffee is quite a new business – we only opened in November. We share this spot on a bus turnaround on the Tottington lines with Love, Love Me Brew. We travel around regularly and we do events, but we try to keep this location as a regular spot. Since we opened, we have had no problems with customers or locations or anything like that.
“But now the Council has told us to cease trading. There was supposedly a complaint made in regards to noise and how busy the area is now.
“The council is looking into it, and we have tried to get permission from them to operate there. But they are not allowing us to, due to the complaint which was made.”
Amy said that both coffee businesses are popular with locals and she has never encountered any issues from customers or with residents who live close to the Tottington lines.
The Bury-based coffee entrepreneur continued: “We don’t really feel that the [noise] complaint is justified. We have spoken to quite a lot of the residents, even people based in the area, right in front of us, where the complaint supposedly came from.
“And a lot of the community wants us there. We have quite a lot of regular customers who come out and speak to us and they have absolutely no problems with us whatsoever.
“They have commented that there is no noise, really. They’ve also said the coffee van is a great addition to the land.”
Sharing how vital the beauty spot is to both coffee businesses, Amy added: “If we can’t trade there any more, it will have a massive impact for us because then we are going to have to try and find a new base. It will be hard to find.
“There are a lot of coffee vans now and they are a lot more popular now, so trying to find a busy, popular spot where we could thrive – it is quite difficult.
“It’s putting pressure on me because I have got a couple of events coming up. Without them, I don’t have the money coming in.”
Now, the owners of Love, Love Me Brew have started a petition on behalf of both coffee vans to highlight their desire to continue trading in the popular beauty spot. The petition, which has so far garnered 1,723 signatures in just a few days, reads: “Love, Love me Brew Coffee and Little Leopard have been shocked to find out this week that we may need to cease trading our independent local coffee community on the lines in Tottington. We wonder if you would please help us to navigate the decision that we need to cease trading on the turning circle on the lines.
“We do this for the love on Saturday and Sundays and we take great pleasure in watching the community grow. We need to show Bury Council that we are an asset to the community so we are hoping morning you will sign the petition and spread the word .”
Amy shared her surprise at how quickly the petition is attracting signatures, saying: “The support is so amazing. It’s really bittersweet.
“We only expected to get about 400 signatures, but we’ve got over 1,600 now. Every day, I have been like, I could have a little cry. It’s quite sad, going through this. But it’s so heart-warming to see the signatures and kind messages from people.”
Starting her own coffee business was a “massive leap” for Amy, who was made redundant during the pandemic. She opened the coffee caravan after discovering there was a demand for coffee in popular walking spots in the local community.
Together with her partner, Steven Willetts, she takes The Little Leopard Coffee caravan to different events across the country. She also revealed that the support of the Bury community has helped her business stay afloat.
Amy added: “After I was made redundant, I wanted to find something that I loved. It’s always been my dream to have my own coffee place.
“Because of Covid, we’ve found that people wanted to stay in their local area more than ever. And we thought, if we open a coffee van, we can move around and go to people- we can open in places that you wouldn’t ‘t normally find a coffee business.
“I think it’s important to support local, independent coffee businesses, rother than going to the big names. On my days off, I always go to other coffee vans.
“In the whole community of coffee vans, we all help each other. There is no rivalry – we support each other. I hope we manage to do something about this, because it’s really exciting to be trading in this location.
“It’s been amazing, from the minute we have opened. I have lived in Bury all my life and the community is so lovely.
“They have made the business what it is already. It’s only a small business and I’ve only recently started it. More than anything, they are happy that we are there. It’s really helpful.”
A spokesperson for Bury Council said: “Both of these outlets applied for, and have been granted, a street trading permit. However, it is a condition of the permit that they obtain permission from the owner of the land they wish to set up on – in this particular instance, the council. So far they have not asked for permission, and we would advise them to do so in order that this matter is resolved.”
The petition can be viewed here.
Follow The Little Leopard Coffee on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website here. Follow Love, Love Me Brew on Facebook.
Get the latest headlines to your inbox with our newsletters.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.