Owner allays fears over café’s alcohol licence

The Blue Bird Caf�, Ferring. Picture: Derek Martin
The Blue Bird Caf�, Ferring. Picture: Derek Martin

The owner of a Ferring café has assured residents it won’t turn into a binge-drinking hot-spot after an extension of its alcohol licence was approved.

Dozens of residents turned up at Arun District Council’s Licensing Subcommittee meeting held at the Glebelands Centre in Greystoke Road, Ferring, amid concerns over the licence application by the Blue Bird Café.

Ferring’s seafront is a super spot. It’s a peaceful environment and everyone wants to keep it like that

Councillor Roger Elkins

The restaurant, located on The Strand, can now serve alcohol without food, provided it is decanted into a glass, and has had its licence extended until 11.30pm for private pre-booked functions.

Alcoholic drinks can also be served in the outdoor kiosk on the restaurant’s premises.

Residents were concerned that the new licence would turn the family restaurant into a bar, attracting the risk of anti-social drinking and noise pollution.

But owner Peter Garrett assured that while it was a new application, the business already had a licence to serve alcohol with food and for evening functions.

Mr Garrett said: “I was happy for the licence to be granted. It is good that we can serve alcohol without food because it caused friction for staff when a customer asked for a beer and they had to tell them to buy a meal.

“The extended hours we can serve alcohol are for our private pre-booked functions only. Some of these are family birthday parties and others are charity events. We are doing this for the community.”

The original application was until 12.30am, but this was revised by the owner following complaints from residents.

Arun District Councillor for Ferring ward Roger Elkins was one of several residents who submitted a formal response to the application prior to the committee meeting.

Originally he objected to the application, but said he was convinced by Mr Garrett’s explanations.

“Ferring’s seafront is a super spot. It’s a peaceful environment and everyone wants to keep it like that.

“Everyone knows the café well and Mr Garrett has invested a lot into the premises, but equally we don’t want a situation that causes issues for residents. If managed correctly as he has assured us then there shouldn’t be a problem.”

Mr Garrett has agreed to an annual meeting with residents, if requested, to discuss issues if they arise.