A Cornish tapas bar has failed in a bid to extend its opening hours due to the number of licensed premises in the surrounding area. 

Lemon Twist on Discovery Quay in Falmouth had applied to Cornwall Council to amend its licence so it could stay open until 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The venue is currently able to serve alcohol until midnight and stay open until 12.30am but wanted to extend its hours at weekends to boost its income. The applicant had highlighted that other venues nearby had been allowed to open later.

Cornwall Council’s licensing act sub-committee met this morning to consider the application and decided that it should be refused. The main reason was because it is located in Falmouth’s Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ).

CIZs are designed to reduce the impact of large numbers of licensed premises being located in one area. They are used to help ensure that the licensing objectives are able to be met in areas where there are a number of licensed premises.

A report which went to the committee explains: “In some areas where the number, type, and density of licensed premises, such as those selling alcohol or providing late night refreshment, is high or exceptional, serious problems of nuisance and disorder may arise outside or some distance from those premises. Such problems may occur because of a large concentration of people queuing, gathering, or leaving licensed premises at the same time, including late-night takeaways.

“Queuing in itself may lead to conflict, disorder, and anti-social behaviour. Large concentrations of people may attract criminal activities. Local services such as public transport, public toilets and street cleaning may not be able to meet the demand posed by such concentrations of people who cannot be effectively dispersed quickly, leading to issues such as street fouling, littering, traffic, and public nuisance.”

Falmouth had been identified as a CIZ previously but the designation had lapsed during the covid-19 pandemic and was only recently reapplied by the council. However, in between that time some licensed premises had been able to get amendments to their licences approved as the CIZ was not in place.

Now the CIZ does apply the committee said it had to be considered in relation to the application from Lemon Twist.

Councillors asked what measures were being put in place to try and limit any impact on the local area and were told that they had agreed that the outside area of the venue would not be used by customers after 11pm.

The committee also heard that whilst there had been some complaints about noise from the bar the staff had met with local residents to address any issues. They also stated that whilst some venues in the area had residential apartments above their premises Lemon Twist had nobody living directly above as Pizza Express was on the floor above.

Falmouth Town Council had objected to the application because the venue is located in the CIZ and they felt that if granted it would go against the aims of the CIZ in restricting the number of licensed venues and those open until late hours.

The committee agreed unanimously to refuse the application due to the CIZ and said they were concerned about the “potential impact” it could have on the licensing objectives and they were “satisfied that there are a significant number of licensed premises in this area”. 

Councillors also said that they did not think that the applicants “had given sufficient consideration to the CIZ” and said that “on balance it was reasonable and proportionate to refuse the application”. The applicants have the right to appeal against the decision.