Portsmouth cafe’s last minute legal attempt to stop removal of licence

The Leopold public house in Southsea is closing

READER’S OPINION: The closure of The Leopold will be a loss to the whole community

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LAST-minute attempts are being made to block the removal of a community cafe’s premises licence.

Art & Soul Traders, which runs The Lodge Arts Centre and Park Cafe, has been told it will lose its ability to hold outside events and have any property left at the Victoria Park building from tomorrow.

Portsmouth City Council solicitor Jade Snoxell issued operator Mark Lewis a letter saying damage caused by weather to his cafe’s marquee was a breach of his licence conditions.

Mr Lewis yesterday instructed a solicitor to get an injunction in place to stop the removal of the licence so his team can be granted more time to put a case forward for why it shouldn’t happen.

The council has told Mr Lewis’ team to leave in February so it can turn the premises into a facility helping disabled people back into work and enabling them to learn new skills.

Mr Lewis said: ‘We will be saying this is clearly evidence of more bullying tactics to put us out of business. The council knows, as it barred us from contract commissions, and stopped us from getting funding locally or externally, that the only way we can make to pay the maximum commercial rent is through the cafe and events in the evening.’

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