Controversy arose when a coffee shop and bar sought longer hours.

The retrospective application was made by Emma Mitchell of Elephant Coffee Ltd at Hamilton House, The Parade, Parkgate.

Mrs Mitchell told planning officers at the borough council she wished to vary a condition to allow hours of 9am to 11.30pm Sunday to Thursday and 9am to half past midnight Friday and Saturday.

At present agreed closing times are 11pm Monday to Saturday and 10pm Sunday and bank holidays.

A premises licence permits hours until half past midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1am Friday and Saturday which have operated since last August.

Her proposal was called in to the borough’s planning committee by Parkgate ward councillor Martin Barker (Indt) as it had generated ‘considerable controversy’ in the ward with a total of 43 representations in objection and in support.

Main issue appeared to be with people waiting outside for taxis

The ground floor of the conservation area property, previously known as Parkgate Coffee Shop, has operated under the name ‘Elephant Coffee – Lounge Bar’ since it was acquired in 2012 by the current owners councillors were told in a report.

It is between a pub and a takeaway with flats and dwellings nearby.

Neston Town Council objected but said it would be happy with closing times of 11pm Monday to Thursday, midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10pm on Sunday.

The Cheshire Police licensing officer had not found any recorded incidents that would cause concern about the running of the premises but environmental protection officers recommended refusal.

Monitoring and complaints suggested noise experienced late at night was unacceptable they believed.

Although mainly at the weekends there are also incidents in the week and the main issue appeared to be from people waiting for a taxi outside the premises.

Representations for and against were received from neighbours and others in the wider Parkgate and Neston area. They included an objection from The Parkgate Society but no objection from Neston Civic Society.

Objectors raised issues including increased noise and disturbance from patrons and the effect on residential amenity, traffic and antisocial behaviour.

Councillors agreed the application should be refused

Those in support argued there had been no annoyance, nuisance or disturbance since the opening of the premises and the hours would be no later than other premises on The Parade.

Planning officers explained the Licensing Act covered public nuisance but planning was far more wide-ranging in relation to the effect on living conditions. They recommended refusal.

For Mrs Mitchell, agent Steve Goodwin, director of Goodwin Planning Services, argued the refusal was based solely on the alleged impact on residents due to noise and disturbance.

He asked if planners could determine whether people waiting for taxis were from Elephant Coffee, the pub or the takeaway, ‘the answer is they can’t’ he suggested.

“No other establishment on The Parade is subject the same restrictions,” argued Mr Goodwin.

Councillors agreed the application should be refused as noise and disturbance at unsocial hours would give rise to significant adverse impacts on the health and quality of life of neighbours.