The Karma Lounge is due to open at 171-173 Tarring Road, opposite the Co-op.
Tabularii Plc is hoping to sell alcohol when the business opens and a premises licence was discussed during Worthing Borough Council’s licensing and control sub-committee on Monday (October 18).
Originally, the application sought to sell alcohol between 11 am and 11 pm, seven days a week, but this was reduced to between 11 am and 10.40 pm following mediation with Sussex Police.
Outdoor seating will be closed from 10 pm.
The owner also agreed to only serve alcohol to tables, operate CCTV, practice a ‘Challenge 25’ policy, and maintain an incident log outlining when alcohol sales are refused.
Sussex Police has now withdrawn its objection.
Objections from the public
However, 16 members of the public objected and several shared their views with the committee.
Some expressed concerns that Omar Rafique, one of the owners, ran a separate Worthing venue which previously had its alcohol licence revoked in court.
This occurred after police received complaints and found alcohol being served at the premises until 3 am – three hours after the licence allowed.
One nearby resident said: “I live opposite the [proposed] premises and I’m very concerned about the previous licence that the applicant has had.
“We’re very worried about someone like this having a licence again.”
Another resident recognised that this incident happened 20 years ago and said people ‘grow and change’.
However, they said that concerns remained in case ‘previous patterns’ are repeated.
David Dadds, who is representing the applicant, argued that these concerns were ‘irrelevant’ but committee chair Charles James (Con, Durrington) allowed the residents to continue.
Mr Dadds said: “The matters referred to are historic in nature, of over 20 years ago – a long time ago and not relevant to this application.
“If the police thought that the applicants weren’t appropriate to hold a licence, they would be duty-bound I would say, to raise an objection, and they have not.”
What followed was a number of objections from residents who say they live nearby to the proposed venue.
One said that a walled seating area had been built ‘without planning permission’ and likened this to the applicant ‘sticking their fingers up at authorities’.
Mr Dadds pointed out that this would be a matter for the planning committee.
He said: “We’re dealing with a licensing application. It’s very modest hours, very modest indeed.
“The licensing objectives will be met in this application, in fact the police raise no objection.
“Environmental health raise only one concern regarding outside service but there will be no vertical drinking – it’s table service.”
‘Licence will have a huge impact on quality of life’
Another resident said she was concerned that the kitchen would not have ‘enough space to cater to the number of seats’.
She said this led her to think the primary purpose of the new venue would be alcohol sales which could lead to ‘excess noise’.
She added: “We are about ten meters away from this establishment.
“On a very personal note, we are both in full-time employment, we have a very strong work ethic and work from 7am.”
Mr Dadds explained that work was ongoing and the building would match submitted plans once completed.
He said: “The premises can only be described as a small premises. It’s on a road with a lot of other commercial premises opposite.”
Another resident said: “I work two jobs and I need my sleep.
“What I don’t want to be having is confrontations outside my home.”
One resident, who lives next door, claimed that the last four months ‘have been misery’.
“The granting of a licence will have a huge impact on the quality of life and mental health and wellbeing of my family,” he said, “My four month old baby’s window overlooks the area where alcohol will be served.”
But Mr Dadds said the resident had chosen to move next door to an already commercial premises which could apply for a change of use ‘at any time’.
A decision on the alcohol licence will be made within five days.