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Harris and Hoole St Margarets withdraws booze application
A coffee shop chain part-owned by Tesco has withdrawn an application to serve alcohol at its St Margarets branch after a backlash from police.
Harris and Hoole had sought permission to sell alcohol to customers from 11am to 10pm seven days a week.
A decision had been due at a licensing meeting on Wednesday that was cancelled after the withdrawal.
Harris and Hoole chief executive Nick Tolley said: “Many of our customers asked if we would consider offering one or two interesting alcoholic drinks from around the world to supplement our great coffee.
“Why should some customers not be able to enjoy a beer while their friends have a flat white?
“We have already been given the green light on alcohol licences for trial in two shops and have withdrawn one other application.
“We value the communities where we have shops and always look for an open dialogue with our neighbours.”
The chain, in which Tesco hold a 49 per cent stake, has already got alcohol licences for outlets in North Finchley and Walton.
The u-turn came following fears expressed by police and neighbours about increased antisocial behaviour.
Mark Halton, of Richmond’s police licensing team, had expressed concerns over the proximity to nearby St Stephens Church of England Junior School.
He told the Times: “This will increase the likelihood of young children witnessing drunkenness and urinating in the street.”
He said it would lead to street drinkers “congregating on benches” close to the primary school.
Residents started a “Please don’t open in St Margarets” Facebook campaign earlier this year when Harris and Hoole announced it was opening a shop.
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