Young parents furious after Chapel Allerton bar bans children during the daytime

A popular bar in Chapel Allerton has banned small children and re-branded itself as a co-working space.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 3:39 pm
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 3:40 pm
The Woods

Parents reacted furiously to the news that The Woods on Stainbeck Lane would be adults-only until 3.30pm on weekdays.

Children will still be allowed in the four-storey bar and restaurant during the evening and at weekends.

Consultation launched over expansion plans for Allerton Grange School in MoortownThe decision was made by owner Richard Todd, who himself has a three-year-old son, as part of a bid to attract custom from freelance and home workers.

The Woods

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The bar, which re-opened in May after a year-long closure following a kitchen fire, has re-invented itself as a daytime workspace called Woodwork.

They will host lectures, talks, events and workshops and provide superfast Wi-fi, individual tables and USB ports for around 65 workers.

Richard and business partner Paul Logan have pointed out that there are around 15 cafes and restaurants in Chapel Allerton that welcome children during the daytime, but a lack of suitable co-working venues.

They say they were 'appalled' by negative comments on the private Facebook group Chapel Allerton Chat, which has around 5,000 members.

Richard said-

“As there are 15 or more alternative venues that children can go in through the day in Chapel Allerton, it seemed like a good idea bringing more choice to the area.”

Chapel Allerton mum slams 'noisy' multi-games area for ruining her quality of life“We were stunned by the initial negativity, some parents outraged that their little ones were not allowed in until 3.30pm. But then we received lots of supportive messages from non-parents and parents alike, wanting to use the space to work from.“

The Woodwork space will also have over 80 plug sockets, call-friendly acoustic areas, a communal printer and a meeting room with capacity for 50 delegates.

'Well-behaved' dogs are allowed on the ground floor, but are banned from upstairs bar areas.

The decision generated extensive debate on Facebook, with many parents reacting angrily to the news, and others pointing out that the building is large enough to have one floor reserved for workers and another for families.

Chris Corfield said:-

"What's up with The Woods no longer allowing children in between 9-4 during the week? Surely that's peak time for young families? The staff apologised and said that they wanted it to become a workspace during the week, which is fine if they want drones sat at laptops ordering one coffee and sitting there for five hours, but I imagine they've just lost a huge amount of revenue from new families who saw it as a great space to chill out and have some lunch."

"Bad form and disappointing...presumably everyone has to sit in silence then like a library? Or is it just children making noise that is a problem?"

Jen Allison added:-

"I have two small children and am also self-employed, working from cafes in Chapel Allerton. I can totally understand them offering one level of this absolutely massive building as a quiet workspace...but if I wanted to work in silence with no atmosphere I would stay at home and save my money. I go to cafes for a bit of a buzz, if it gets too distracting I leave. Similarly when I have my kids with me, if they get fed up and start acting up I leave. This policy makes no sense at all!

"I also think most people who work from cafes understand that they’re actually not workplaces, that other people use them and that they can be loud and busy. If you want a proper work environment you pay for a studio or hot desk space. Or go home! Bizarre."

Ella Norman said:

"Why can't they do both, it's huge? Surely one floor would be fine to allow kids? There are actually very few places big enough in Chapel Allerton to comfortably breastfeed and hold multiple prams. The people holding up the business at the weekends are largely families, perhaps just the parents but still families, who are likely to go elsewhere now they've been excluded midweek. Its mad business sense."

Daniel Eggleston added:-

"Positioning themselves as a business/professional hub rather than a crèche will certainly differentiate them from the dozens of other café/bar/restaurants in the area, so I hope it works out for them. Not sure there's the volume of customers for it to pay off though."

Louis Howland commented:-

"Maybe it has something to do with them making a professional place for people to work where they won’t be subjected to children’s tantrums or children running about being nuisances, I’m not saying anyone here’s children act like this but working in hospitality it is extremely common."

Rachael Greenland said:-

"I like going to places where there aren’t children squealing. I’m really sensitive to sound and enjoy having more of a choice of places to go so I applaud their decision. I hope they get lots of support rather than being lambasted for their business decision."