A proposal to offer evening supper clubs at a popular village cafe should be approved, planning officers have recommended, despite claims the venture could harm one of the special qualities of the Howardian Hills National Landscape.

North Yorkshire Council’s Thirsk and Malton planning committee will next Thursday consider allowing Dogh shop, café and takeaway in Welburn, near Castle Howard, to remove a restriction on the number of evening events it can hold a month and to allow up to to 50 events a year.

The premises lies within the village conservation area and the designated Howardian Hills National Landscape area of protection, which was previously known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Entrepreneurs behind the application initially proposed extending the cafe’s opening hours from 8am to 10.30pm all year round, but following a host of local objections revised the proposal to a maximum of three evening events a week and no more than six consecutive Sunday events during the school holiday periods.

Planning papers state the applicant wants to offer more private ticketed bistro-style events as well as to allow customers to book the cafe for private dining, following several similar events last year which went off without


The document states: “At heart, we are a chef and a food lover, and want to

create a space where good quality food is celebrated. We feel that the venture into evening events supports this and allows us to expand the business is an appropriate manner.

“We take the current concerns of the village very seriously, and as such do ensure that all attendees of events at Dogh are made aware that disturbances must be kept to a minimum when entering and exiting the building, we also keep our meal service between 7pm and 9pm, to ensure all guests have left before the 10.30pm curfew that we currently have”.

Some people have written to the council in support of the proposal, additional events at the bistro “would be an asset to the area and would also bring the community together in a lovely setting”.

While the cafe stands opposite the Crown and Cushion pub, which has similar opening hours to the proposed venture, it is also beside a number of homes.

However, the application has generated 24 representations from local residents and members of the public, all of whom raise objections to the application.

One objector wrote: “Dogh continues to destroy the ambience, the tranquillity, and amenities of this once aesthetically pleasing village landscape on a daily basis.”

Another added: “The business has outgrown the premises it should move to a more suitable location where expansion does not impinge on the whole neighbourhood.”

A spokeswoman for the Howardian Hills National Landscape highlighted that tranquillity counted among its special qualities.

She said: “Whilst we are fully supportive of the rural business within the village and recognise the growth of the business and service it provides to both residents and visitors, we have significant concerns about the

potential for the applicant to host up to 50 occasions per calendar year…

“This will inevitably impact further on the tranquillity of the village, residential amenity of existing and neighbouring occupiers, rural village character, noise levels and quality of evening dark skies.

“It is considered that the proposal… will not enhance the village character, the village of Welburn and will detrimentally impact the special qualities of the designation including the tranquil character and green spaces within the village.”

Nevertheless, planning officers have advised councillors Dogh “is an example of an innovative and rejuvenated small business” and in their report to the meeting stated the hosting of evening events has “potential to positively contribute towards the vibrancy of the village”.