TWO Winchester cafes can now sell alcohol – despite desperate pleas from local residents.

Coffee Lab had sparked anger with its request for new licensing permissions, which also sought the ability to host live music.

The plans for both the company's Little Minster and The Square premises were discussed thoroughly at a city council sub committee after hearing from angry objectors.

Elisabeth Vaughan, of Kings Head Yard, a neighbour of the Little Minster Street cafe, said: "This will be extremely disturbing for local residents. Coffee Lab has doubled in size during lockdown, and it would be fine if it was just selling coffee.

"I'm so stressed about these plans to sell alcohol and have already had a breakdown about it all. I'm looking after my husband and will not be able to do it properly if this was approved. "The building is not designed for entertainment purposes and any kind of noise leaks through into our properties."

Ward councillor Lynda Murphy also objected to the plans.

Andrew Vaughan, another public speaker added: "The local residents already have it hard here. There is already a lot of drug use in the Kings Head Yard area and encouraging late night alcohol drinking will only worsen anti-social behaviour.

"If the cafe wanted to sell a couple of beers every now and then I'd understand, but I simply don't believe it. They've had parties there before.

"As well as live music they want to play background music, too. This will be heard by the neighbours. There is no other nighttime economy in this area."

But the sub committee saw no legal reason not to grant the new permissions.

The Square premises can now host live music and play recorded songs Monday to Sunday between 6pm and 11pm, whilst selling alcohol between 9am and 10pm.

Conditions have been imposed on the Little Minster Street venue, which can play recorded music from 9am to 7pm and sell alcohol between the same times, Monday to Sunday.

The applicant withdrew its request to host live music at this site, and must also prevent customers from smoking tobacco outside the premises.

Cllr Brian Laming who chaired the committee said it was "unusual" for a coffee shop to apply for an alcohol license, and expressed concern that it could become a wine bar and music venue.

But Cliff Morris, representing Coffee Lab, said: "Live music is not currently in the business plan of my client, but it's easier to put everything in one licensing application."

He added: "The building has had a premises license before, for around three to four years – I believe it was a pizza restaurant.

"The alcohol permissions were taken away when Coffee Lab took over. The reason for the application is that sometimes, people join their friends but do not want a coffee but beer or wine instead.

"It's not in the business model to become some sort of niche pub. The business just wants to supply its clientele with their needs."