Councillors have given a seafront venue the chance to sell alcohol without requiring customers to buy a meal.
They granted a request by Brighton Zip to be allowed to use “temporary event notices” (TENs) to sell alcoholic drinks legally as long as “substantial food” was available.
At a licensing panel hearing on Wednesday (20 October), the company’s solicitor Niall McCann asked councillors to give the venue, at Dalton’s Bastion, in Madeira Drive, the chance to prove itself.
The zipwire business previously had a drinks licence with “restaurant conditions” that required customers to have a meal if they wanted a drink.
But the premises licence lapsed when the current owner Madeira Leisure took over the business from the former owner Happyvale.
Madeira Leisure has since applied for a full licence with the more relaxed “café conditions” which require food to be available when alcohol is sold – but not necessarily purchased.
And the Brighton Zip can keep to café conditions for three weekends – tomorrow (23 October) and Sunday (24 October) and the two weekends after.
Sussex Police objected to the application. Force licensing officer Claire Abdulkader said that Halloween surpassed New Year’s Eve as an alcohol-led celebration and that the venue’s proximity to the beach increased risks.
She was concerned that the venue was set up to be more like a bar than a café in what was regarded as a high-risk area.
There were also concerns that, under the previous licence, and under new laws that allowed takeaway or “off” sales, customers were buying alcohol from the bar and drinking at the Zip’s tables without a meal.
The Zip had previously been permitted to sell drinks over one weekend earlier this month when the police had not identified any problems.
The panel said: “The panel noted that the police had not identified any concerns during a licensing check undertaken on the weekend of Saturday 2 October and Sunday 3 October.
“The panel also recognises that the applicants do accept responsibility for the way in which the premises has been run and are keen to rebuild trust with the authorities.
“In particular, they are anxious to work with the police to fine-tune conditions and policies in connection with their current licence application.
“The panel considers that it is appropriate to allow these events to go ahead to give the premises an opportunity to demonstrate they can operate responsibly and promote the licensing objectives.”
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