Cafe’s alcohol bid rejected as councillors declare ‘no confidence’ in owner

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Baggies Coffee House
Baggies Coffee House in Christchurch High Street

A BID by a Christchurch coffee shop to sell alcohol until midnight every day has been rejected after councillors said they had “no confidence” in its owner’s ability to uphold licensing objectives.

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Mike Ismail of Baggies Coffee House had originally been seeking a 2am end time but reduced this as part of a failed attempt to overturn an objection by Dorset Police, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Mr Ismail had hoped to extend the hours he was able to sell alcohol as part of efforts to improve the viability of his business, which he said was “struggling big time”.

As well as a midnight end time for alcohol sales, he was also seeking to be able to open for food sales until 2am seven days a week.

Baggies currently closes at 5.30pm due to a planning condition on the building, something he said he was applying to change.

Baggies Coffee House
Mike Ismail runs Baggies Coffee House

However, he mistakenly requested to be able to host plays until 2.30am and incorrectly defined ‘proxy sales’ – the purchase of alcohol on behalf of children – as a form of approximately measuring drinks.

When the application was considered by the BCP Council licensing sub-committee Cllr David Kelsey said: “This doesn’t seem to be well thought out – the application has so many errors in it.

“It doesn’t fill us with a lot of confidence if you are sat here saying telling us you don’t know what you are applying for.”

Police licensing officer Louise Busfield, who had met with Mr Ismail to try to agree a compromise, said the proposed change to the coffee house licence would increase anti-social behaviour in the town.

She said there were “no measures proposed” to assure police that crime and disorder objectives would be upheld.

Mr Ismail said his proposals would not increase crime nor the risk to public safety.

“We are not another pub,” he said. “We are a food takeaway and food outlet and we don’t advertise alcohol.

“I don’t pose any risk to increasing problems, all I want to do is make a living.”

However, the sub-committee rejected the application.

Chairman Cllr David Flagg said: “The committee has no confidence in the applicant’s ability to uphold the licensing objectives due to their lack of knowledge of them.”

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Mr Ismail said he would seek legal advice before reapplying.

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