The owners of a cafe seeking to increase the number of evening supper clubs it runs in a National Landscape village have been told they must wait to learn whether disruption from 25 diners would be too damaging for the designated area’s “tranquil” qualities.

Deferring a decision, elected community representatives have claimed it would be “unfair” to reject the post-Covid venture at Dogh cafe in Welburn, near Castle Howard, which if granted could see up to 25 people attend bistro events up to 50 times a year.

A meeting of North Yorkshire Council’s Thirsk and Malton planning committee heard while the cafe was in a predominantly residential area all the supper events would be held indoors, external lighting restricted and that food orders would stop at 9pm to ensure diners had left by 10.30pm.


Georgia Dowkes-White, a director at Dogh, said the pandemic and the cost of living crisis had led to a further source of revenue being sought to make the cafe viable and protect jobs.

She added the business showed respect to its neighbours and encouraged its customers to do so.

However, the proposal was facing an objection from the Howardian Hills National Landscape, which believes expanding evening events at the cafe would “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…”

Speaking on behalf of dozens of villagers who objected to Dogh’s ambition John Ryan, former chair of Welburn Parish Council, accused the council’s planning officers of producing an “inaccurate and heavily weighted towards the applicant” report recommending the scheme be approved.

He said holding up to 12 events in a month would exacerbate parking issues fuelled by “inconsiderate customers of Dogh”, causing further damage to the village green and creating “unknown food odours”.

The meeting then heard while the cafe was seeking to open for 50 evenings a year, the Crown and Cushion pub opposite the cafe was able to open 365 days a year with no restrictions, leading to questions over whether businesses were being treated fairly.

Councillor Alison Baker asked: “How can you say what noise comes from which venue?”

Ahead of the committee voting unanimously to postpone a decision until further information was available about parking and opening hours, its chair, Councillor Caroline Goodrick said the authority wanted to support the venture while protecting residents and the village’s special qualities.

She the cafe was hoping to open until 10.30pm, it was unreasonable also to expect to be allowed to receive deliveries from 4am, as it would lead to sleep deprivation for neighbours.

Coun Goodrick added as the cafe did not have off-street parking up to 13 cars would need to find spaces in a village already struggling with parking issues after recently losing ten parking spaces due to a traffic regulation order.