Felpham residents win cafe booze bid

Concerned residents have won their fight to stop a Felpham seaside cafe selling booze until 11pm.

The Lobster Pot, Canning Road, has instead received a licence to sell alcohol from midday until 10.30pm.

Cafe operators Thomas Barnes and Sam Donovan had wanted a licence to sell alcohol from midday until 11pm daily, with an extension to sell alcohol until midnight during the month of December.

Chairman of Arun District Council’s licensing subcommittee, Ashvin Patel said he hoped the extra half-hour was a compromise.

The licence extension was opposed by a number of residents from Canning Court and Esplanade House because of increases to noise and disruption.

Esplanade House resident Carl Quin said: “A number of residents were concerned about the effect this would have on their quality of life. The area used to be a quiet seaside cul-de-sac, but over the past 18 months that has changed as the Lobster Pot has increased its opening hours.

“It used to be a seasonal cafe opening just in the summer months, But now it is open all year round, residents have tolerated these disturbances, but the added noise has become more apparent and more frequent.

“Residents have been amicable in the past, but if the licensing and opening hours were extended it would have meant there would have been just six-and-a-half hours during the middle of the night of quiet.

“Residents are no longer able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area, something which many moved there to do.”

Pamela Joyner, of Canning Court, voiced concerns the cafe could become a magnet for customers looking for alcohol after the pubs closed as well as possibly aggravating existing traffic problems.

She said: “While I wish any local business luck and I am pleased we have a cafe, it should not come at the expense of local residents.

“Parking is already an issue. With later opening hours, there will be more taxis along what is a very narrow residential street.”

Mr Barnes said: “We wanted the extension to cater for the rare occasions when we have a particularly big party.

“Due to the logistical factors of serving them, it may not be possible for them to finish their meal and drinks until after ten o’clock.

“We just wanted an added leeway.

“We have had people decide not to book with us because of this inflexibility before. Not being able to purchase drinks after ten o’clock puts a lot of people off.”

The cafe is about 30 metres from the Beachcroft Hotel, which can serve alcohol until 12.30am.

Mr Barnes said: “We by no means wanted to open a wine bar or a pub as has been suggested, We simply wanted to add to our business.”

PC Dave Whitcombe from Sussex Police West Downs licensing division said: “The premises has not been a problematic business as far as Sussex Police is concerned and hopefully that will continue.”