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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Wednesday, 11 August 2010 14:36 UK
Hogs Back Cafe manager vents anger at closure plans
Cup of tea
Staff at the Hogs Back Cafe fear job losses in county council lay-by closure

The son of the owner of a cafe on the Hogs Back in Guildford has expressed concern over plans to close the adjacent lay-by on the A31.

The area has been the subject of controversy as the woodland behind the cafe is a popular place for adults to meet for sex.

Local residents are campaigning to have the lay-by closed down.

But the cafe staff argue that the move would unfairly destroy their business and is an unnecessary step.

The busy lay-by, which is one of the largest on the A31, is situated at a popular beauty spot, with stunning views over the Downs.

Until a couple of years ago, it was mainly frequented by lorry drivers, bikers and other road users looking for a place to stop and rest.

But in more recent times, the adjoining woodland has become popular with people engaging in outdoor sex.

Advertised on the internet

In fact, it has fast gained a reputation, within certain circles, for being a safe place to indulge in such activities and is included on websites devoted to the subject.

There have been attempts to stop people coming to the area to take part in lewd conduct.

New lighting behind the cafe and CCTV have been installed.

And in 2009, Surrey Police spent £120 on tea and biscuits which were handed out to people visiting in the site, in an attempt to engage the community and find a solution to the problem.

Now Surrey County Council's Safer and Stronger Communities Select Committee have voted in favour of the lay-by's closure.

This is a move welcomed by the people who live in the nearby village of Puttenham.

They say the fields behind the lay-by were used "for all sorts of sexual activity", even during the day.

Concerns include that fact the site is so close to the local school, and the campaign for closure is supported by Anne Milton, the Conservative MP for Guildford and Tony Rooth, leader of Guildford Borough Council.

However, the son of cafe owner Nilesh Thackor, who is employed as manager, says he believes the problem is not as bad as reported.

He thinks complainants are in the minority, who are "stirring things up and causing more rumours."

He says the cafe has nothing to do with the activities which take place in the wooded area, and the situation has caused the "downfall" of their business.

He acknowledges Surrey County Council has offered to find them an alternative site to lease for their cafe but says there are no other suitable sites within the area.

A final decision will be made by Surrey County Council's cabinet on Friday 13 August.

See for miles from Surrey's hills
01 Dec 09 |  People & Places


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