Kirkby Stephen’s parking space spat reached a head with a Facebook post issued as a last-ditch effort by a pub landlord to keep an outdoor space open.
The row revolves around four car parking spaces which were taken over by the Pennine Hotel as licensing laws were relaxed throughout the pandemic to provide more COVID-safe outdoor seating to hospitality businesses.
The highways department of the county council has now issued an order, demanding the pub vacates the parking bays by the end of the week.
Pub owner Huw Evans said closing the outdoor space would force him to make staff redundant and could put the business at risk.
He issued a plea on Facebook thanking people for their support and lobbying the county council to change its decision.
The publican said he had lobbied every authority in the county, and provided a range of alternatives including buying, renting and adopting the land for what he claims would be of benefit to the community, but still came up against a brick wall. In a strongly-worded social media post he slammed Kirkby Stephen Town Council for its involvement in the situation, which he regarded as unhelpful.
The post was shared widely and received considerable backing online, with people showing their support for the outdoor space.
Kirkby Stephen Town Council’s clerk was unavailable for comment as the Herald went to press.
Expressing sympathy with the struggles of hospitality businesses like that of Mr Evans, MP Neil Hudson said he would highlight the pub’s plight to the county council but was unable to engage further as parliamentary protocol prevents MPs from getting involved in legal matters.
The pub was set to host a final ‘thank you’ event last Friday, before removing the outdoor seating this week.
Cumbria County Council reaffirmed its ownership of the parking bays and that they would be used for their intended purpose moving forward.