Winchmore Hill café granted alcohol licence despite dozens of objections

+355 Coffee Bar and Lounge received permission to sell alcohol between 10am and 10.30pm daily, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Green Lanes in Winchmore Hill
Green Lanes in Winchmore Hill

A Winchmore Hill café and bar has been granted a licence to sell alcohol despite 53 letters of objection being sent by local residents.

The spot at 738 Green Lanes called +355 Coffee Bar and Lounge received permission to sell alcohol between 10am and 10.30pm daily, with a closing time of 11pm.

Prior to recent redevelopment work, the premises housed the hair salon Olympéa Beauty. 

During an Enfield Council licensing sub-committee meeting on Wednesday 12th, representatives of the applicant Cara Guzmend argued the objections were prejudicial and motivated by the applicant’s ethnicity. 

Introducing the item council officer Ellie Green stated that the number of objections was a “high volume” for this type of application.

She summed up the complaints which included concern that the hours sought to serve alcohol were “too late” for a coffee shop and that customers loitered on the pavement outside and blocked the path of pedestrians, and allegations that unlicensed activity was taking place inside. 

However,  Cara’s representative, licensing consultant Noel Samaroo said: “We’ve noticed there is a bit of an undertone with regards to ethnicity and a male-dominated premises. 

“I’ve been in licensing since I was 17 and I’ve always worked in London and I’ve always  considered Enfield to be a very diverse, ethnic, and cultural borough. 

“So I was very, very surprised to see how some of these representations were submitted, we did speak to Ellie about it and we felt some of them were extremely vexatious and they shouldn’t have been allowed.”

Noel clarified accusations the premises breached conditions were “totally unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue”.

He referenced one objection from the report which claimed groups of men were seen drinking, smoking and gambling at the premises despite not having its licence yet. 

Noel said: “The only men that were in that premises at the time were the builders and I know for a fact that the builders weren’t drinking, smoking and gambling while they were working.”

He continued the application’s “very robust” operating schedule had been analysed by the police “hence why they’re not here today”. 

He added the business wanted to be “a part of the community” and not for “mono-ethnic men, standing out in the pavement…disturbing women as they walk past”. 

Of the 53 objectors only one attended the meeting and although given the opportunity, chose not to speak. 

Following discussions chair Mahym Bedekova announced the application could be granted following “the applicant’s agreement to modify the conditions” which included a limit on the number of people using the smoking areas.

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