Two separate bids to turn a cafe into a wine bar in Cheltenham as well as allowing a company to serve pizza from a converted horsebox have been refused.
The wine bar proposal was to turn a cafe, a stone’s throw from Promenade, into a restaurant which served wine as well as Italian food.
And an application was also put forward to serve hot pizzas from a trailer on Cheltenham’s Promenade on weekends.
Both of these were debated and rejected in two different Cheltenham Borough Council licensing committee meetings on Wednesday – here is what happened.
Wine bar application
Veeno, which has restaurants in Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh, wanted to occupy the basement of the building which Terrace cafe is currently based, in Crescent Terrace.
According to a council document, the restaurant chain serves pizza, fresh pasta, paninis, boards of cured meats and cheese, and Italian wine from the applicant’s family vineyard in Sicily.
However the borough council’s licensing sub-committee threw out the application on the grounds of the supply of alcohol ending at 1am, and the location of the proposed venue.
Councillors debated whether to change the last orders time to 12am but was refused when it came to the vote.
Neighbours had objected to the application expressing concerns about potential noise and anti-social behaviour caused by the restaurant.
Owner of Veeno Rodrigue Trouillet told the committee: “We should not be associated with crime, disorder and public nuisance. Our concept is to respect codes of conduct and following the core hours of licensable activities.
“Our unique concept is a benefit to the locality which draw visitors, stimulate the economy and we hope the neighbours as well. It is challenging enough today’s world in a pandemic that we are still brave enough to want to open this thing when it started in January 2020.
“Although I am ready to listen to looking at a compromise when it comes to hours, we need to make sure it is not detrimental to my revenue. I can safely say from what we have experienced in the last six months, that it is difficult to survive when you have to close at 10pm. It is really detrimental to revenue, we have seen dramatic sales drop because of that.
“Hence why, it is difficult to tell customers to stop drinking at 10pm especially on a Friday and a Saturday. But we want to be respectable about this and we want to try to make it work for everybody as well.”
Pizza trailer bid
Applicant James Fisher wanted to serve the cheesy delicacy from a converted horsebox trailer under his business Bella Mia Pizza.
It was originally set up for small gatherings such as family BBQs, he told the committee, then was invited to do a catering job in Bourton-on-the-Water.
He said he thought the trailer would be “very fitting” and benefit Cheltenham after seeing an opportunity on Promenade, a busy shopping district.
Councillors were supportive of the business, however they expressed concern about the proposed location as it was outside the authority’s policy for permitted sites.
Councillor Simon Wheeler (LD, Hester’s Way) said: “Marvellous business, I have not seen anything quite like this before. Would love to see it go ahead, but I really do not think this is quite the right spot for it.”
Councillor Mike Collins (LD, Benhall and the Reddings) said: “We know we have had some really unfortunate closures of retail in the area that might have sold some similar good, which is not good for the town centre, but two problems I have is it is not in an approved location.
“I like pizzas as much as everyone else but I do not think this is doing anything to regenerate the town centre post-covid.”
The committee debated whether to approve a temporary licence for Mr Fisher to allow him to trade on Promenade while finding a permanent pitch elsewhere, but refused as it the proposal was not in an approved location.
Asked why Mr Fisher applied to place the trailer outside of a council approved policy area, he said: “I went round Cheltenham looking around and thought it was just such a good location.
“There is a coffee trailer on the other side, it is just such a prime location. It is a beautiful part of the town and we can add to that.
“When we get customers coming up you will see there is skill involved. It is almost like a theatre as well as the food and source.”
The committee said borough council officers can work with him to find an approved location and submit a new application.