AN Oakleigh cafe has rendered a loading zone on Portman Street inoperable because it has been excluded from the new footpath trading policy.

A nearby trader says that’s making deliveries difficult and the policy should be the same for all.

Under the new policy, footpaths in Glen Waverley and Oakleigh have been separated into a pedestrian, trading and curbside zone. Traders are only allowed to set up commercial items like tables and chairs in the trading zone.

But Nikos Quality Cakes has been able to continue setting up chairs, tables and a fence on its patch of pavement, because although it faces Portman Street, it is technically a part of Eaton Mall, which has been exempted from the policy during its redevelopment.

As the footpath is so narrow, the dining equipment and fence has been pushed up against the curb.

Portman Street trader John Daley said there was no room for vans with side doors to unload and the policy was not being applied consistently. “Common sense says if you’re on a corner, then street faces have got to comply.”

When the Weekly contacted Nikos Quality Cakes for comment, it was advised the cafe’s owners had gone on an extended holiday and were expected to return in October.

Mr Daley said vans that had a sliding panel on their left flank were either unable to unload in the zone because there was no room or were forced to park outside the designated white lines and expose themselves to parking infringements.

He said his own supplier was forced to drive around the block several times to find a parking spot. “My seedling truck just can’t use it because he walks along the side.”

Monash mayor Greg Male said because vans were traditionally unloaded from the back, the 800mm kerbside zone wasn’t required.

Cr Male also said because the zone was used for loading and was next to the cafe, it didn’t require an access zone.

Mr Daley has written to the council about the issue to no avail. “Doing nothing means we’ve got a loading zone that’s only half operative. By removing the tables and chairs, a bloke could put his trolley on the footpath next to the truck, unload onto the trolley and then just walk off and do his delivery.”

Zone troubles: Oakleigh trader John Daley, who owns Youngs Hardware on Portman Street, is furious a loading zone has been rendered useless because of a local cafe’s exemption. Picture Lucy Di Paolo.