A PUBLIC cafe proposed for inside a prison has been turned down due to fears from its competitors.
Kirkham Prison had planned to open up a cafe and bistro – staffed by inmates – inside the grounds of the facility.
However, after councillors and business owners became concerned about how it would affect other cafes and shops in Kirkham and Freckleton, it was refused by Fylde Council.
Elaine Silverwood, owner of SilverDell cafe and book shop in Kirkham, said: “I support the prison hugely and give them positive publicity whenever I can, but in this instance it’s being detrimental. The reason I fought it was because I just couldn’t see it being there.
“It’s not because my business is here, it’s because people who use this would not be using Kirkham and they are not going to be shopping in the high street.”
The prison had hoped to open up the six table cafe between 9am and 1pm, Monday to Friday and 1pm and 3.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Coun Ben Aitken, chairman of Fylde Council’s development management committee, said: “They had been given planning permission to sell what they had grown on the prison site.
“But because of that shop and the cafe, a lot of councillors felt it would attract the public away from the town centre.”
Coun Liz Oades was also against the cafe and claimed it was unfair because the costs incurred by the prison cafe would not be the same compared to other businesses.
She said: “For a start, the prison doesn’t pay business rates and if it’s staffed by the prisoners they won’t be paid so it’s unfair.”
But Stephen Tandy, 62, who provides support to the community work the prisoners do, said: “Six tables isn’t going to break the bank.
“If you are going into Kirkham to do some shopping, you wouldn’t go to the prison and I can’t see how having a small place there would have an impact on businesses in Kirkham.”