'We're not here to upset people' - Honey + Harvey reassures neighbours as bid to sell alcohol sparks fury
PUBLISHED: 21:17 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 06:57 14 August 2019
A backlash over a leading coffee shop's bid to sell alcohol has led to its founder moving to reassure neighbours over noise fears.
Artisan coffee store Honey + Harvey has grown increasingly popular since opening in Woodbridge's Thoroughfare in 2011, developing into a casual dining eatery with a focus on organic local produce.
It has been named in the Sunday Times' top 25 coffee shops and opened a second branch in Melton in 2017, with a new store also due to open at the former Mambos Bar and Grill in Ipswich.
However as it has increasingly taken bookings for late-night functions at its Riduna Park store, it has found that applying for several one-off temporary event licences has meant additional paperwork.
To cut down on workload, it has applied for new premises licence to allow it to sell alcohol until 10pm Mondays to Thursdays, and until 1pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The licence, if approved by East Suffolk Council's licensing committee, would also allow it to stage live music and play films and recorded music until the same times.
Honey + Harvey founder Harvey Allen stressed the store would still stick to its current public opening times of 7am to 5pm Mondays to Saturdays and 8am to 4pm on Sundays.
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He said the new licence would simply mean the venue in Station Road could hold events without having to continuously apply for new temporary licences.
But the move has been met by a furious backlash from residents, who fear the new licence could mean loud noise disturbing them late at night.
Mr Allen believes the limited information about the new licensing application available in council documents means many have misunderstood the nature of the bid.
"We're not here to upset people," he said.
"We don't intend to change our current trading hours - it's so we don't have to apply for a temporary licence every time."
Even though he said the store would "maybe in the summer stay open until six", it would only stay open late when booked for an evening event.
He said a recent DJ night at Honey + Harvey, which went on past midnight, had not attracted any complaints.
The main idea of the alcohol licence is to allow customers to enjoy the odd glass of wine, rather than drink to excess, he added.