A MUM is running out of time to save her small business after her bid to continue operating a cafe from her home was recommended for refusal.

Nicola Littlejohn, from Sible Hedingham, owns Violet the Vintage Caravan, a small tea room she first opened in October 2020.

It is popular with many residents in the village, but also has critics.

Complaints were made regarding the tea room’s impact on traffic and parking in Swan Street, and “insufficient” facilities in the kitchen.

Braintree Council told Nicola she needed planning permission to keep the business open.

She said: “I needed planning permission because I use my own residential kitchen and have tables and chairs out.

“My kitchen is used for residential and business purposes, so I had to apply for that to note this change of use.

“Some were not happy that it wasn’t a commercial kitchen, which we would need ventilation installed for, and that we can’t do.”

Nicola is now hoping to get the green light to continue operation the business at the next council planning committee meeting.

She has already received lots of support from the community, which she was overwhelmed by.

She said: “The support that people have shown has been lovely.

“They have been emailing councillors on the planning committee in the hope that they can overturn the recommendation.

“They will meet next week, and either agree with the it, put in conditions, or overturn it.”

Nicola hopes she can stay open, but fears for the future of not only her business but also the change that closing would have on her life.

She said: “This business means a lot not only to me, but others too.

“I have seven staff who will lose their jobs and it will have a huge impact on me and my family.

“My son has autism, but the business means I can work at home, and that I can be here for him.

“If I closed, I would have to look elsewhere, and it would really change our lives hugely.”

The planning committee meeting will take place at the council’s Causeway House HQ in Braintree on Tuesday from 7.15pm.