Seaside café told it can sell alcohol – but only until 9pm

Heacham Halt Cafe, South Beach, Heacham. Picture: Ian Burt

Heacham Halt Cafe, South Beach, Heacham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A seaside café's bid to sell alcohol until 11pm has been refused because of police concerns about drunken people falling into the sea.

Heacham Halt Café applied to West Norfolk Borough Council to sell a small range of beers and spirits for people to drink on the premises or take onto the beach.

Julia Moore, a former Heacham pub landlady has owned the café, which is situated on the sea front on the South Beach for nine years.

She said that her goal was to attract people to the area and create new business – something she added the council 'doesn't seem to encourage a lot'.

However Tony Grover, licensing officer at Norfolk Constabulary, said Mrs Moore had a 'rose tinted vision' which was 'likely to cause unnecessary crime and disorder problems'.

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The café will be allowed to sell alcohol on site but only until 9pm, not 11pm as requested.

Councillors also said Mrs Moore, who ran a pub for 12 years before taking over the café, has to create a secure alcohol storage area, which must be approved by a crime prevention officer.

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They said she should also display signs asking customers to leave the premises quietly and respect the needs of nearby residents.

The café is close to a large number of chalets and static caravans, which are all used by families during the summer months.

Mr Grover added: 'Excessive alcohol consumption in an area close to the dangers of a beach and in the close proximity of a single track vehicular and pedestrian highway is a real personal safety consideration which is not to be taken lightly.'

He added that he believed Mrs Moore wanted to run a 'hybrid venue somewhere between a pub and a café which would attract families using the beach and cater for other drinkers'.

'Regulated entertainment also forms part of the application and suggests that live or recorded music may be offered and therefore could attract significant numbers if provided,' Mr Grover said.

'There is no room for large numbers inside the café but functions spilling over to the outside area could cater for a lot more.

'All in all, the police are not satisfied that the applicant has given sufficient thought to this application.

'If a licence were to be granted the police belief is that there is a real risk that the premises and persons likely to use them would not be effectively managed within the licensing laws.'

After the licensing hearing, at West Norfolk council's offices, Mrs Moore told the EDP that she disagreed with the police's concerns.

She said that there were already other premises selling alcohol near her own business.

However she said that councillors on the borough council's licensing committee had been fair in reaching their decision.

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