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March 2020

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Published on 13 March 2020

Court supports Teignbridge Council’s closure of Beachcomber café tenancy

Rear view of the seafront café after the fire in 2017

Teignbridge District Council is looking forward to assigning a new tenant to Teignmouth’s Beachcomber Café, following a successful conclusion to a legal action that has kept the eatery closed for nearly three years.

Following a fire in the building on Teignmouth seafront in the summer of 2017, the council became embroiled in a long and acrimonious legal wrangle with the then tenant – CDVB Ltd.

Following the fire, TDC successfully prosecuted Mr Ralph Brown, a Director of CDVB, for putting staff at risk from asbestos by returning to the fire-ravaged building to retrieve property. In doing so, they had ignored barriers erected by TDC to protect the public from harm.

There then followed a challenge to the validity of TDC’s notice on the tenant that the council did not wish to renew the tenancy but wanted to repossess the building.

That legal process came to an end this week (12 March) when a Judge ruled in favour of TDC’s termination of tenancy notice for the premises and awarded the council full costs.

A spokesman for TDC said this week: “We’re pleased that the unfortunate delays over reinstatement of the fire-damaged Beachcomber Café premises as a popular local eatery are nearing an end.

Right outcome

“Throughout this process, the Council’s only concern has been getting the right outcome for the public – both in terms of the business being operated in the best interests of the town, its residents and visitors, and the tenancy being managed to get best value for our Council Tax Payers.

“We welcome this week’s court judgement clarifying the situation with regard to the legally entitled tenant of the café premises. This vindicates the council’s position and brings to an end what became an unnecessarily acrimonious dispute. This is not a cause for celebration – merely a victory for common sense.

“We will now proceed apace with tendering the opportunity so that arrangements to sign up a new tenant can be made as soon as possible. We will be seeking expressions of interest from new applicants, as well as getting back in touch with parties who had previously indicated they might want to take on the tenancy.

“This will enable the Beachcomber premises to re-open and once again serve the local community and the large influx of visitors who come to Teignmouth”.