Fears raised over cafe’s bid to sell booze with food

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CONCERNS have been raised over a cafe’s bid to sell alcohol.

The Parlour, in the northern precinct of Palmerston Road, Southsea, wants to serve booze from midday to 10.30pm every day.

It would make it the first premises in that end of the precinct with a licence allowing people to drink alcohol on site.

Alex Sargeson, owner of The Parlour, and Jack Spiegler, his legal representative, have agreed alcohol would only be sold with food and consumed while sat at a table to ensure customers are responsible.

Guests would be allowed to drink at the back of the cafe, but only until 8pm.

The aim is to help create a family-friendly restaurant atmosphere in the evenings.

But there were fears raised at a Portsmouth City Council meeting over the plans about the impact the move would have on nearby residents.

Lib Dem councillor Peter Eddis, who represents the area, said: ‘It isn’t an area where alcohol is being consumed at all.

‘It’s very close to St Jude’s Church, which has a lot of families and young people involved. We have two schools within a couple of hundred yards. It’s not a good idea to be setting up licensed premises in this area.’

Cllr Eddis, joined by ward councillor Hugh Mason, also said it would change the character of the area – but that was dismissed as it’s not a consideration in licensing terms, although the council’s environmental health officer noted there were differences between the north and south precincts, with the former being much quieter.

An official decision will not be made until at least Friday because some matters need to be cleared up.

The cafe is awaiting the outcome of an appeal to a planning inspector over a separate decision by the council’s planning committee not to allow it to extend its opening hours.

It is currently open from 8.30am to 6pm and the premises had hoped to change its hours to 6.30am until 11pm Monday to Saturday and from 7am to 11pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

The reason for the rejection was because it could disturb neighbours.

If the appeal is unsuccessful but the alcohol licence is granted, then the hours when drink is served would have to be altered.

Mr Sargeson said: ‘We are not looking to be a full-on restaurant.

‘We have a mature, respectable customer base.