Restaurant defeats Cardiff council over alcohol licence

A restaurant has won a legal battle against Cardiff council allowing it to serve alcohol in a city saturation zone limiting the number of venues selling booze.

The saturation zone aims to stop any new licensed premises on City Road (Flickr pic by Guardian Cardiff)

The saturation zone aims to stop any new licensed premises on City Road (Flickr pic by Guardian Cardiff)

Chinese eatery .CN on City Road, formerly Ding Hua, fought the council through the courts after its alcohol licence application was rejected earlier in 2011.

The restaurant successfully challenged the decision at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court and was granted a licence to sell drink within the City Road saturation zone. The case has emerged as councillors move to introduce two more saturation zones around Greyfriars Road and Churchill Way.

The zones make it harder for new and existing businesses to gain alcohol licences, as any plans trigger an automatic objection from the police.

In June, the restaurant applied for an alcohol licence, but was refused by Cardiff council’s licensing committee. The restaurant took the council to court in October and has successfully challenged the decision.

A Cardiff council spokesman said: “Earlier this year, a premise called Ding Hua – situated at number 228, City Road – submitted an application to Cardiff council’s licensing committee, requesting for an alcohol and entertainment license.

“On June 24, an entertainment license was granted, but the alcohol part of the license was refused following an objection made by South Wales Police as the premise falls within the saturation zone that covers City Road.

“On October 3, Ding Hua won a court appeal against the council’s decision and was given an alcohol licence.”

The council’s saturation zone policy creates an automatic presumption that alcohol licence applications will be refused within a specified area. But a licence can be granted if the applicant shows there will be no detrimental impact on the area.

Applications must demonstrate that granting a licence will not affect the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; or the protection of children from harm.

This ruling goes some way to show Cardiff council is becoming too eager to stop businesses gaining alcohol licences which would greatly improve the prospects of a restaurant.
Read our earlier article about how saturation zones work, what the South Wales Police believe they achieve, and take our poll on whether they are a good idea.
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