Concerns raised about Southsea cafe’s bid to serve alcohol

An artist's impression of plans for Southsea Beach Cafe
An artist's impression of plans for Southsea Beach Cafe
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FEARS have been raised about alcohol being served in a new cafe being set up along the seafront.

Southsea Beach Cafe, which will be on the promenade near Canoe Lake, has put in an application to sell booze daily from 11am until 11pm.

Ian Clarke, the owner of the business, has made assurances that alcohol would only be served with food and not be allowed to take away.

But while residents say they support developments happening on the seafront, they fear alcohol sales will lead to a ‘drink culture’ and that it is inappropriate in an area where families visit.

Deborah Palmer, of St Helen’s Close, Southsea, said in a letter of objection to Portsmouth City Council: ‘I feel it would be inappropriate to allow alcohol to be consumed in a bar so close to a children’s play park and family, as it will only promote a drink culture, which to my understanding, Portsmouth City Council and the government is trying to reduce.’

The business also wants to hold live music from midday until 11pm.

Council officers have advised that conditions cannot be imposed on this, as playing music to an audience of 200 people or less is no longer a licensable activity.

But David Jeffries, of St Helen’s Parade, said: ‘While we have no objection to the concept of a beach cafe, we are concerned about the sale of alcohol and the playing of live or amplified music on the rear deck of the premises, for up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, as both potentially could have a detrimental effect on the neighbouring homes, those visiting Canoe Lake and the beach.’

He also fears parking problems and late-night noise will be an issue.

As reported, the cafe is expected to open this month and will serve fresh food.

A raised wooden deck will be fitted with capacity for 50 seats. CCTV will be in operation and staff would operate a challenge 25 age policy if an alcohol licence is granted.

Notices will be put up to remind customers to leave quietly.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, who represents the area, said the fact alcohol wouldn’t be allowed off site and would be only served with food should avoid disruption.

‘Those were the conditions I would have asked for,’ he said.

‘The cafe brings a run-down building back into use.’

Councillors will consider the application and make a decision at a licensing meeting being held at 2pm tomorrow.