Cafe owner told to rethink plans for new venue in Camden Town after residents raise concerns over revellers

Camden Town Hall

Fears over more revellers disturbing residents in an area with many bars and restaurants led to an entrepreneur being asked to think about plans for a new cafe in Camden Town.

The sticking point was the potential impact of another business offering alcohol for sale in the Camden Town cumulative impact zone.

The licensing designation means that new licensing applications for the area are likely to be refused unless there are “exceptional circumstances.”

Applicant Tam Rahman who already runs two cafes and hopes to open 103 Parkway told the licensing committee: “We have not intended it to be a bar, more a cafe, offering speciality coffee.”

He explained he hoped to host local chefs several times a month to offer special meals and would control numbers by offering a booking system in the evenings.

He told the licensing committee: “We want to be an asset to the community.”

Initially he had hoped to stay open until 2am nightly but had scaled this back. Instead he asked to sell alcohol for drinking at the venue on Parkway between noon and 11.30pm Monday to Thursday, until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and from 11am to 10.30pm on Sundays.

He planned to offer bespoke sandwiches, salads, bagels along with small plates, cheese, fish and meat boards and work with “upcoming chefs” to showcase their food several times a month.

Simon Foster, the former chair of the Albert Street North Residents’ Association told the licensing committee said residents in the area suffer from anti-social behaviour from people after they have left bars and restaurants in the area.

This included “urinating in doorways, kicking bins over, even a game of drunken cricket once on Albert Street to Parkway.”

Nicholas Ayre asked for the licensing committee that Albert Street North and Delancey Street residents associations have worked hard over the last 15 years to develop “harmonious relationships” between business and residents.

He said: “We have been increasingly alarmed with the encroaching night time economy that has been taking over the street in recent years.”

He said many bars and restaurants have opened and “we have noticed a considerable rise in public disturbances and anti social behaviour at evenings and weekends.”

Mr Ayre said residents were concerned that once revellers leave venues “they do what they like, singing, smashing glasses and urinating in doorways.”

The venue’s agent Rob Edge said the “prestigous premises would bring opportunities including jobs to the community, with food offering “simplicity, flavour and quality.”

He said: “This is an exceptional venue that is worthy of the  council’s confidence” and added it has a robust management plan.

He explained it was only financially sustainable with a premises licence to serve alcohol and pointed out it woud be “commercial self harm” if it had a negative impact in the area.

One resident who moved to Camden Town five years ago wrote in his objection that he was “one of the locals increasingly expressing sadness and anger that our once beloved urban village has become across between Soho and Blackpool.”

He said: “It’s hard now to see any remnants of what brought me here 50 years ago. Then there was a hint of Bohemia. Some of the residents personified that, Parkway was a street of little shops.”

Camden’s licensing committee were concerned that  it “seems to be mainly a bar serving light snacks” according to committee chairman Shah Miah and urged the applicant to go back to the drawing board.

They refused the application because they felt it would add to the cumulative impact area.

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