Southsea coffee shop wins alcohol licence – just in time for Christmas drinks

Baffled Coffee in Fawcett Road. Picture: Google
Baffled Coffee in Fawcett Road. Picture: Google

A COFFEE shop will be able to sell alcohol despite neighbours' concerns about noise.

Baffled Coffee in Fawcett Road,  Southsea, was handed an alcohol licence by Portsmouth councillors at a licensing sub-committee meeting on Wednesday.

It covers the coffee shop's current opening hours of 8am to 6.30pm from Monday to Saturday, and between 8.30am and 4.30pm on Sunday and bank holidays.

The owners, Fergus and Rachel McMurray, who have run the cafe for two years, said the licence will help boost business - and will only sell acoholic drinks to accompany meals.

Speaking at the meeting Mr McMurray said: 'In my mind it would only be sold with something savoury and substantial, like a proper knife and fork meal.

'It's about giving people more of a choice.'

Residents Bob Smith and Charlotte Batten, whose home backs on to the cafe, said the use of the venue's garden was concerning.

Mr Smith said: 'Within metres from the rear of the garden all noise is audible. It sounds like groups having parties in your house.

'The difference before and after the garden started being used is like the difference between night and day.

'It's the difference between being able to have windows and doors open and being able to sit in the garden rather than feeling like you are sitting next to someone hearing everything they're saying.

'We are having to move further and further back into our house.'

The shop's garden has been in use since August this year. Mr McMurray said the heatwave left them no choice but to open it to customers.

'Not opening the garden had a detrimental effect on business,' he said.

'Our profits were 30 to 40 per cent down during that period. I couldn't afford to open the garden this year but I felt I had to give people a choice.'

He added: 'I don't feel that during our normal trading hours that people would get so rowdy.'

The committee granted conditional permission, insisting that the effect of noise  on neighbours must be considered at all times and any CCTV cameras would not invade the privacy of nearby residents.

The owners plan to start serving alcohol in the shop in time for Christmas this year.