RESTRICTIONS were imposed when a licence was granted to a small cafe in a city centre tourist hotspot.
The application, put forward at Café At The Walls in Bridge Place, Lower Bridge Street by Patrick Anthony and Bee Song Anthony, led to protests from residents.
The restaurant is adjacent to the city walls at the Bridge Gate.
Licensing officers were told approval was being sought for the supply of alcohol between 8am and 1.30am seven days a week, recorded music and late night refreshment.
A requirement put forward by the police that alcohol should only be supplied on the premises to people taking substantial table meals and that an outside area should close at 11pm was agreed by Mr and Mrs Anthony.
Environmental protection officers said no takeaway food or drink should be sold after the same time.
The city council had seven representations, one on behalf of 10 other residents.
City Walls resident Rosemary Willis, who lives near the café, says it started as a tea shop and the sale of alcohol “would be bound to present many problems”.
These include noise, congestion on the narrow entrance to the city walls, food smells and loud music.
John and Margaret Crompton, also of City Walls, raised concerns about increased noise and disturbance, especially late at night in the quiet residential area.
Owner of the adjoining property, Michael Barry, sent in a detailed five page objection pointing out the premises, which he argues have been for sale for the last 12 months, are “very small” and any intensification of use is likely to cause serious problems.
He is also worried about late night opening and potential antisocial behaviour.
Ken and Sylvia Thompson of Bridge Place say they fear noise and activity in the street up to 2.30am or later.
Ten other occupiers signed a letter with Mr Walter and Mrs Carol Vick of The Shipgate, Shipgate Street raising concerns ranging from smashed bottles and offensive and unpleasant lingering cooking smells to litter, noise and parking problems.
Miss P M Pask, also of City Walls, suggested that disturbances and confrontations might arise if drink or entry to the premises was refused in the late hours.
Mr Anthony reiterated that alcohol would only be sold with food and the outside area would close after 11pm. He would also operate the Challenge 21 proof of age scheme.
Environmental protection officers pointed out the restaurant has residential properties on all sides and that once a licence has been issued, there is no legislation available to the city council to deal with noise in the streets from patrons leaving the premises or smoking.
For environmental protection, Kate Hawkes told a meeting of the city's licensing act sub-committee she wished to curtail the hours which had been applied for and to see a more powerful odour control system.
She confirmed there had been no complaints about the premises but that if these arose, a review of the licence could be requested.
Mrs Vick pointed out that Lower Bridge Street is used by school children and she did not believe it was suitable for them to see people sitting out drinking alcohol as they went to school in the morning and returned in the afternoon.
“It will be extremely noisy if there are people sitting around drinking alcohol until 1.30pm,” she suggested.
Mrs Vick was also concerned that people would be “wandering around” with bottled alcohol and that any stray food could lead to added problems with pigeons.
The café is in a conservation area and she felt the premises should be kept looking smart and clean.
Mrs Anthony pointed out the café could not be responsible for litter dropped by people who were passing by.
The aim would be to keep the area tidy and customers would be reminded to dispose of their litter responsibly.
“We will carry out regular inspections to make sure the area is tidy at all times,” she added.
There was no intention to sell the business in the near future and Mrs Anthony also said they did not propose to change for the menu in the evening and it would not become a Chinese takeaway
She could not guarantee that would not be any anti social behaviour although “we would do our best to consider all our neighbours”, she insisted.
“We are a very small café and it is very unlikely we would attract rowdy crowds. If people want a drink we just want to be able to provide it,” she said.
After an adjournment following a one and a half hour hearing, committee chairman Cllr Gwyn Cooper (Lab, City & St Anne's) said the application had been discussed “at some length”.
“Hopefully we have reached a compromise,” she suggested.
Cllr Cooper said she and committee members Cllr Jeanne Storrar (Con, Saughall) and Cllr David Hull (Lib Dem, Hoole Groves) had “listened very carefully to everything that has been said”.
She suggested to the objectors they had a right to seek a review of the licence if there were problems and said complaints should be taken up at any time with environmental protection officers.
The committee granted the licence subject to opening hours being restricted to 8am-11pm with alcohol being limited to 11am to 10.30pm with no additional hours for Bank Holidays.
The frontage of the cafe is to be cleared of litter on a daily basis and a more powerful odour control system fitted.