ONE of the most iconic cafés in England is potentially set to re-open next year, after plans for the rebuilding of the much-loved venue were approved.

Plans were approved on Friday, May 31 for the rebuild of the iconic Hartside Cafe in Alston, after it was destroyed by fire back in 2018.

Planning authority Westmorland and Furness Council received 123 letters of support, in addition to 14 objection letters.

The business will be family run, with Dawn Dixon assisted by her two sons Rudy and Tom Dixon. Dawn said there will always be a member of the family on site due to the importance they hold around the ‘personal touch’ for customers.

The family hopes to re-open next March, with tenders going out for the work as early as next week.

This will come as welcome news to the many thousands who have paid an active interest in the legendary venue, with 193,000 people reading the social media post revealing the café's bid for planning permission.

Owner Dawn said: “The plans were always to rebuild it, it's just life got in the way a lot of the time, and circumstances... we have had a lot of delays.

“We have finally got the planning and we are just going to rebuild a really beautiful space actually, with lots of glazing, so whatever the weather is doing you can take in that view, that spectacular view.”

The building will be designed for a ‘quick turnover’ with a hatch alongside the café, for people to grab something on the go if they choose.

Dawn said: “A lot of the biker people in particular don’t want to particularly come in and sit down, they just want to have something in their hand like a cup of tea or a bacon sandwich and talk bikes in the car park. So there is that facility. Then an inside facility with open fire, great food, just really simple but good.”

News and Star: Images of the planned single-storey cafeImages of the planned single-storey cafe (Image: Westmorland and Furness planning portal)

The family are excited to re-open the café famed among car fanatics, cyclists and motorcyclists, who would regularly stop off on the steep and winding road between Penrith and Alston.

Dawn said: “I feel an enormous responsibility because I am a custodian for a location that literally tens of thousands of people love and they are very loyal to that location, so I have to be really careful not to change that.

“I want to leave a legacy behind that it is going to be very simple, because that’s all it needs, the vibe is already there, the people are already there, all I have got to put there is a warm building with really lovely straightforward food, good honest food because that is what they want.

“I am just a custodian for my lifetime at Hartside so I don’t want to change the place really.”