New East Dean cafe and farm shop seeking premises licence
A bid to secure an alcohol licence for a new cafe and farm shop in East Dean is set to go before councillors next week.
On Thursday (June 10), a Wealden District Council licensing panel is expected to consider an application for a premises licence at Sheppard’s, a cafe and farm shop set to open at the former doctor’s surgery in Downland Way later this month.
According to the applicant, the business would operate as a cafe and farm shop for most of the week, but would open as a restaurant with later hours on Friday and Saturday nights. It would also hope to open later on some Thursday nights for infrequent events.
As a result, the business is seeking licenced hours between 9am and 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays and from 9am to 10.30pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
However, these hours have seen some objections raised by residents, largely due to concerns around noise and disturbance during Friday and Saturday evenings. To address this, some residents have called on the council not to grant an evening alcohol licence.
Concerns were also raised by East Dean and Friston Parish Council, which has requested that the hours be limited until 9.30pm at latest.
However, these concerns were disputed by the applicant, cafe owner Mandy Mulford, who argued the lack of a licence would only prevent the business from selling alcohol, rather than the consumption of alcohol by diners.
In a letter to members of the East Dean Residents Association, Ms Mulford said: “Sheppard’s will, upon being granted a licence, supply locally sourced alcoholic beverages for consumption with food and for retail purposes within the ‘grocers’.
“The licence will provide us with an opportunity to focus on local produce. If we didn’t get a licence, we could only offer corkage (bringing in your own bottle) which would mean, if anyone did want a glass of wine with their meal it is more likely to have come from Sainsbury’s than one of the local vineyards!
“The opening hours listed on the public notice account for every possibility. The café will be open 9am-3pm daily and Friday and Saturday 9am-11pm. No food will be served after 9.30pm.
“Thursday is listed as I hope, in the future, to facilitate one off events such as cheese and wine evenings or carol singing with mulled wine, that kind of thing.”
Ms Mulford goes on to say that the business would also not allow any anti-social behaviour from diners leaving the premises.
Residents had also raised concerns around parking at the premises, although this is a planning rather than a licensing issue.
The licensing bid came alongside a planning application to change the use of the building, which was approved in May.
According to Sheppard’s website, the business is set to open its doors on June 21.