Oldham ice cream parlour’s plans to serve alcohol in former public toilets sparks complaints
Under the latest submission to the council’s licensing authority, Grandpa Greene’s would serve alcohol from 11am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday at the new venue.
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Plans by a popular Saddleworth ice cream parlour to serve alcohol in converted park public toilets have prompted a furious response from residents. Grandpa Greene’s Luxury Ice Cream Ltd has applied for a new premises licence for a ‘small’ restaurant on the edge of a park in Uppermill, which would accommodate 44 people.
Planning proposals to convert the former public toilets in the King George V Playing Fields on Wade Row into a café had prompted a mixed response, with 121 objections to 37 supporting comments. Despite the objections Oldham’s planning committee gave the application, which includes a single storey glazed extension, the green light in August last year.
Under the latest submission to the council’s licensing authority, Grandpa Greene’s would serve alcohol from 11am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday at the new venue. However the company insists alcohol would only be served inside, and with food – such as prosecco with afternoon tea which it says would be the ‘majority’ of its alcohol sales, and no alcohol would be taken off-site.
Five written objections have been lodged against the proposed licence, with Helen Bishop, parish councillor for Greenfield, arguing the plans are a ‘safeguarding issue’ with adults drinking alcohol ‘within a children’s play area’.
“The changes of these interests clashing are high, and alcohol consumption will only fuel any altercations or interactions that occur,” she writes. “The area has also had a problem with drug use associated with the night-time culture, it is not appropriate for that to start to encroach upon the park. Young people have very few safe places to enjoy and these should be protected from intoxicated adults.”
Another objector says: “The idea that alcohol goes hand-in-hand with ice cream sends very poor messages and examples to children,” while a different resident simply states ‘we don’t want booze in the park’.
Managing director Rick Scholes wrote to the council in defence of the application, which will be decided by the licensing panel on April 19.
“Our trained staff wouldn’t allow alcohol to be served to anyone who is already under the influence of alcohol for licensing reasons, but also because having drunk people on site goes against our business model as a family friendly ice cream parlour and café,” he states, adding that numerous other Uppermill cafés also have alcohol licences.
“If we were unable to offer a glass of wine or a bottle of beer with lunch it would significantly impact our business as many diners would choose to visit alternative local cafés,” Mr Scholes writes.
“We would be more than happy to have a restriction on the number drinks allowed per customer if this reassures the resident that our business model is a family friendly ice cream parlour and café.
“Our target market is families and this will never change – this doesn’t change the demand for mum and dad to enjoy a beer and some lunch whilst the children enjoy an ice cream/dessert.”
The park toilets, built in 2000 were closed in 2018 following anti-social behaviour and vandalism. The ice cream business says it will provide an external public toilet at the site that will be open seven days a week for all park-users.