Southsea coffee shop launches bid to serve booze

Baffled Coffee in Fawcett Road, Southsea wants to serve alcohol as well as coffee
Baffled Coffee in Fawcett Road, Southsea wants to serve alcohol as well as coffee

A SOUTHSEA businessman is hoping a council decision will secure the future of his coffee shop, despite some objections from neighbours.

At tomorrow’s licensing sub-committee councillors will vote on whether to grant an alcohol licence for Baffled Coffee on Fawcett Road.

If approved, the cafe will be allowed to serve alcohol during its current opening hours of 8am and 6.30pm between Monday and Saturday, and 8.30am and 4.30pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

The application has to be taken to committee because of the fact it garnered four objections from nearby residents.

Bob Smith, of Manners Road, said: 'I do still have a concern that there are no other licensed premises in the local area and providing this license is likely to encourage others to also apply and more likely to be successful, significantly changing the demographic of local area business from retail to bars and restaurants much more suited to other areas of the city where these are already established.'

His neighbour, Charlotte Batten, added: 'It's the use of the rear outside space that is chiefly the issue. It's already proving to be really disruptive and I believe that consumption of alcohol will escalate noise levels which we can already hear inside our house.'

But owner of Baffled Coffee, Fergus McMurray, explained how this would not be the case. 'Portsmouth City Council have shown no concern about the licence,' he said.

'The only comeback we've had has been about neighbours worried about noise which is totally understandable. We have got a garden and have been using it since August when the weather was really nice but it is only small and I think the most people we've had out there at one time is about 12.

'It would damage my business if we could not use the garden.

'And the alcohol on sale would only be to accompany meals. We don't have a standing area or a bar. We don't play music and we're not planning to. We also won't change the opening times to be later than 6.30pm, we can't do because we don't have planning permission for that.

'All the conditions we've been set by the council if we get the licence we already have in place.'

Police have stipulated that if the licence is granted CCTV would have to be installed in the cafe, staff must receive alcohol sales training and signs stating the need for ID are displayed.