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Popular roadside stall forced to stop selling coffee after council decision on cafe application

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A petition has been launched to save a much-loved roadside coffee shop in the Noosa hinterland after it fell foul of council regulations.

The stall, which has grown into a popular destination for residents and visitors, serves locally sourced food and beverages from a repurposed 1948 bus on a private property just outside Cooroy.

Rob and Beth Noy began operating Busstop Espresso during the COVID pandemic as a way to share eggs, honey and produce grown on their property, plus coffee, with nearby residents.

However, as the popularity of the business at 201 Mary River Road grew, complaints were made to Noosa Council regarding traffic and parking.

In April 2022 Noosa councillors were unanimous in issuing a permit for the roadside stall to sell local produce, and recommended the Noys apply for the appropriate licence to serve coffee or food and have an onsite dining area.

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Mr Noy submitted a development permit for material change of use for the roadside stall to include a food and drink outlet on January 10, 2023, to Noosa Council.

On November 16, council moved to reject part of the application and ordered Busstop Espresso to close the food and drink arm of its business within three months on the grounds that a coffee shop did not match the Noosa Plan.

However, the council did approve the original condition of continuing to sell locally grown produce, including eggs, honey, herbs, fruit, vegetables and coffee beans.

Busstop Espresso at Cooroy.

Mr Noy has since launched a change.org petition called Save the Busstop Espresso, which has more than 1300 signatures.

“This decision will negatively impact our community and the hundreds of other people that use Busstop’s services weekly,” Mr Noy said via the petition.

“We believe Busstop Espresso is not just another cafe. It is a unique and special place that greatly enhances the Cooroy community.”

Noosa Council CEO Larry Sengstock said council had acknowledged the strong community connection Mr Noy had created with the roadside stall since its opening.

“This was a difficult and for some an unpopular decision, however council continues to have a consistent approach to adhering to its existing regulations in the planning scheme,” Mr Sengstock said.

“It’s been the main factor in helping make Noosa Shire what it is today and if we go outside the scheme it can set a concerning precedent, no matter how popular an operation is with sections of the community.”

Council has rejected part of Busstop’s Espresso’s application as it outside the planning scheme.

Council’s development and regulation director Richard MacGillivray said the application to include a food and drink outlet was inconsistent with the Noosa Plan 2020.

“The food and drink outlet component of the application was refused as it was contrary to the site’s rural zoning, and traffic and car parking impacts were not adequately addressed,” he said.

“Officers base their recommendations on the current regulations and carefully considered all aspects of the planning scheme.”

Mr Sengstock said council had approved a new building for a roadside stall as part of Mr Noy’s application, to enhance Busstop Espresso’s capacity to promote and sell local produce from the site.

Noosa Council said it would work with the owners to look at options for an appropriate alternative site for the food and drink outlet.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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