Former Cafe Gets Alcohol Licence Despite Residents' Opposition

Danish Patisserie on Munster Road is being converted into convenience store

Picture: Google Streetview

April 15, 2024

A former Fulham café just a minutes’ walk from a primary school has been granted permission to operate as an off-licence, despite objections raising fears about a potential increase in antisocial behaviour.

Some residents described the request to sell alcohol from the former Danish Patisserie on Munster Road as ‘inappropriate’, which is “not in the interest of the residents or the school”.

Hammersmith and Fulham councillors at last night’s (April 10) Licensing Sub-Committee meeting however voted to approve the new premises licence, though with reduced hours than were initially sought.

The application, submitted by Digisha Bhavsar, had requested a new licence to sell alcohol between 8am and 11pm Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 10pm on Sundays. These would mirror the proposed opening hours of the store, which would also sell a range of convenience items, from pet food to groceries.

Prior to last night’s meeting, the police had agreed eight conditions with Ms Bhavsar if the new licence was to be approved, including CCTV and appropriate training, though did not raise any objections. Residents however felt differently, lodging 20 submissions with the council. The proximity to the nearby St John’s Primary School, disturbance to a residential area and more rubbish were among the concerns raised.

Speaking at the licensing meeting, Tim Fullwood, who lives nearby, said: “The premises is very close to a residential area. It’s also very close to a school and there are concerns among the residents about the impact that having licensed premises so close to this is not in the interest of the residents or the school.”

He added it would be “inappropriate to have licensed premises there and unnecessary. We have enough licensed premises in the area already.”

Another resident, Georgie Stewart, raised the prospect of more rubbish if the licence was to be approved. “I do think litter…is a real issue. I probably twice a week report dumped litter right outside the current premises. It is used as a littering place, partly again perhaps because of the barrier, and with the type of business being proposed…we suspect that would only get worse.”

Manishkumar Bhavsar, the husband of the applicant who was speaking on her behalf, said the purpose of the store would be to sell convenience items for locals, rather than booze. He added the couple already run a shop in Balham in a similarly residential area, and so have experience operating such a premises.

“Those hours were just mentioned for us to have the trading hours starting from 8am to 11pm or 10pm, but we understand there is a school nearby,” he said. “We are into this business for the last 11 years or so, and we know how to run this business.”

Conservative councillor Dominic Stanton, who was one of just two attending last night’s meeting, asked whether deliveries were intended as part of the proposal due to multiple concerns raised about the impact of more drivers. Mr Bhavsar confirmed none were planned, with all sales to be made in-store.

Labour's Wesley Harcourt (Lab), who chaired the meeting, meanwhile queried residents on their fears relating to an increase in crime. Ms Stewart explained there had historically been ‘considerable’ issues in the area, though that this had reduced when around 48 households clubbed together to pay for their own security to patrol the area.

Mr Fullwood added: “We are trying to make our community as secure and as safe as possible. And I think that’s why you’ve had so many objections to the licence going in there.”

The two councillors resolved to grant the premises licence with the conditions previously agreed, though did limit the sale of alcohol to 10am to 10pm Monday to Sunday. The new licence becomes operational immediately.

Ben Lynch - Local Democracy Reporter