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A CAFE in Cathays, Cardiff, which was caught selling alcohol without a licence has been barred from selling booze.

Social Eats, a new cafe on the corner of Salisbury Road and Cranbrook Street, applied to Cardiff council for a premises licence to be able to sell alcohol.

But last month, the cafe sold alcohol to its customers over the spring bank holiday weekend, despite not yet having a licence to do so.

Because of this and noise complaints from neighbours during that weekend, the council’s licensing committee has now refused to grant the cafe a premises licence.

While the northern end of Salisbury Road has two pubs and several cafes and takeaways, the southern end is more residential. Social Eats is the only cafe at that end of the road.

Cafe owner Laura Archbold said: “It was a silly mistake of mine [to think] that we had been granted a licence. I now completely understand it was an application. In my defence, we had applied for three different licences all at the same time.”

She was speaking during a licensing meeting with the council on Tuesday, June 29, when councillors heard the cafe’s application.

As well as a premises licence, the cafe had also applied for a licence to have tables in a backyard outside and on the patch of grass opposite the cafe by Senghennydd Place.

Ms Archbold added: “We were openly advertising on social media that we had an evening menu and we were serving alcohol with that evening menu.

“We have invested a lot of our life savings and a lot of time into developing the building and Social Eats to bring some class to Cathays. We genuinely wouldn’t have risked doing all of that just for serving alcohol for three days.

“We just got a little bit excited because we thought we had the licence. And as it transpired, we didn’t.”

The cafe opened in March, initially as a takeaway only. Ms Archbold said the cafe focused on healthy food and is aiming to be a “trendy place for students to drink really nice coffee”.

If granted a premises licence, the cafe would have been allowed to serve alcohol until 9pm outside and 10.30pm inside.

But the council’s pollution control department raised concerns about how customers drinking alcohol in the evening could cause a noise nuisance to nearby neighbours.

Sam Page, neighbourhood services officer, said: “We have had 13 complaints relating to noise from the premises when the alcohol was being served during the consultation period of the licence. The complaints related to loud music, shouting and singing on the premises.”

Applying for a premises licence includes a consultation with neighbours, police and certain council officers, lasting four weeks. Another part of applying involves showing how the business will meet the four objectives of licensing law, including preventing public nuisance.

Councillor Norma Mackie, chair of the licensing committee, said: “During the consultation period, alcohol was being sold without a licence and this led to a number of complaints about public nuisance. We also note that the premises is located in a residential area.

“We do not feel your representation and application have successfully shown that you will promote the licensing objective of preventing public nuisance.

“We do not feel you have demonstrated that you will be able to deal with issues associated with managing a licenced premises. We therefore resolve to refuse your application.”

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