Police object to licence for street-food market and tap room in Brighton

Police have objected to plans for a street food market and “tap room” to serve drinks although some neighbours have given their support.
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Beak Brewery, in Lewes, wants to set up a fully seated venue at the former car-hire site at 47 Trafalgar Street, Brighton.

The site is owned by retired company director Patricia Camping who lodged an unsuccessful planning application for offices and shops that drew almost 1,300 objections.

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Beak Brewery founder Daniel Tapper, 39, has the backing of the site’s immediate neighbour, the Prince Albert pub, as well as other nearby businesses. He also received a positive reaction from the North Laine Community Association.

Inside Beak Market | Picture: submittedInside Beak Market | Picture: submitted
Inside Beak Market | Picture: submitted

But Sussex Police have objected to proposals to sell alcohol from 9am to 11pm daily – on and off the premises.

The objection from the police and from Brighton and Hove City Council’s licensing team and three residents mean that the application will need to be decided by a council licensing panel.

A panel, made up three councillors, is due to consider the application next week – on Thursday 4 March.

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The premises is in Trafalgar Street which is in a busy part of Brighton where the council has stricter licensing rules because of the “saturation” of drinks-led businesses in the area.

Beak Social Club. Picture: submittedBeak Social Club. Picture: submitted
Beak Social Club. Picture: submitted

Acting Inspector Mark Redbourn, for Sussex Police, said that the operation was a “new pub” hosting more than 200 customers.

He said: “The night-time economy within Brighton and Hove can at times be challenging for all the emergency services.

“Within Brighton and Hove we are unique in that we have a high number of licensed venues all of which are in very close proximity to each other and is inclusive of licensed premises around the train station.”

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Police said that they dealt with 146 violent crimes, 210 thefts and 54 public order offences within a mile of the venue over the year to Friday 8 March.

A resident who objected to the application, whose details were redacted by the council, said that they had seen the area change in the 35 years that they had lived in the North Laine.

The anonymous objector said: “The exchange of drugs, incidents of violent behaviour and late-night noise are now commonplace and, as a consequence, residents are leaving the area, often with their houses then becoming short-term lets.

“The link between the number of licensed premises and the level of crime in an area is well established, yet licences continue to be granted to premises in North Laine which now has 90 licensed premises, three times the number it had in 2005.”

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The North Laine Community Association said that it was “cautiously welcoming” the proposals after Mr Tapper spoke with residents – but it asked for soundproofing and no live music events.

More support came the owner of the neighbouring Prince Albert pub, George Taylor.

He said: “It’s my strong belief that this premises licence application will not add to any anti-social behaviour or any public nuisance, given the nature of the proposed business that it will house being food oriented.

“It will in fact bring a more positive social impact and some much-needed regeneration to the area.”

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Mr Tapper said in his application that he founded Beak Brewery after spending almost 10 years working as a restaurant critic.

Mr Tapper’s company has operated a taproom and street-food canteen in Lewes and run a two-day annual food and drink festival.

The Brighton operation, under the subsidiary company Beak Social Club, would offer food from four “affordable kitchens” run by local chefs, a specialist coffee and bakery section and a small bar.

Mr Tapper said that he took the social responsibility of operating in the area “extremely seriously”, stating that the venue would be food-led and customers would be served only if they were seated and ordered with a table number.

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He said: “We’ve been blown away by the reaction we’ve received so far, with a highly unusual number of letters of support via the council’s planning portal from local people and businesses.

“I think this is because we are being very transparent. We also take social responsibility extremely seriously.”

He said that his business had spent £25,000 on consultancy fees to ensure that its plans complied with strict council rules for the area.

His application said that most of the space would be a dining area offering coffee, pastries, brunch, lunch and dinner, with the bar offering locally produced craft ales and wine.

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He said that he had no plans for live performances – and waste collections, which can give rise to complaints about noise, would take place between 6am and 7pm only.

One objector said that if the business were to close then the licence should be surrendered – a suggestion taken up by Mr Tapper in his application.

The licensing panel hearing is due to start at 10am on Thursday (4 April) and is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.