Mum Spends £40,000 Converting Home Into A Cafe To Pay For Son's University - Only For Planning Permission To Be Refused

14/08/2014 16:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

Mum spends £40,000 converting home into a cafe to pay for son's university - only for planning permission to be refused

Like any mum, Kym McKenzie wanted to give her child the best possible opportunities in life. So in a bid to earn enough money to send her son, Ramoan, 15, to university, she spent £40,000 turning her home into a cafe.

Her plan was simple: start a business, make a success of it, pay for her boy's university education.

But her dreams have been scuppered after planning permission for her business was refused - nine months after the conversion was completed.

Kym's Garden Cafe has been fitted out with thousands of pounds of kitchen goods including new tables, chairs, chilling cabinets and cooking equipment.

Kym, 52, said she went ahead with the conversion in Southampton, Hampshire, after being told by councillors that she didn't need planning permission.

But she faces financial ruin after her application was refused due to a lack of safe pedestrian access. Kym is now unable to keep up with repayments on her business loan.

She had proposed that access would be via a gate in the garden fence, which would open on to a privately owned grass verge.

But the council said it was not clear if delivery vehicles would be able to access the cafe without having a harmful impact on her neighbours.

Kym told her local paper: "I have been given no real hope that it can open. I just don't want to lose my home.

"If they said to me I can open next week, I could have this finished and ready to go.

"I went round to all the companies here and they said they would order food from me all the time."

Southampton City Council denied the mum's claims that she was told she wouldn't need planning permission for business use and says that it advises people not to begin building work until an application has been successful.

Kym's business idea is supported by Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead.

He said: "This was a good idea for the area and a good idea for her.

"Having got that far down the line, if anything can be done to get over the final hurdle then it should be done."


Suggest a correction