Licensing bosses have agreed to give a helping hand to a popular Angus café to support its pandemic recovery.
Angus Council’s licensing board relaxed a rule relating to youngsters on the premises to grant a provisional licence for Bowmans Coffee House in Monifieth High Street.
Angus policy normally requires children to be accompanied by an adult on licensed premises.
Applicant Susan Bowman asked for 13 to 17-year-olds to be able to go into the café without an adult up to 6pm, even with a licence to sell alcohol on the premises.
The premises is popular with teenagers popping in for ice cream, milkshakes or snacks.
Licensing solicitor Janet Hood assured board members the provisional licence would not see Bowmans become a place for a “booze-up”.
“The premises are already running as a café and have always welcomed families and young children,” she said.
“Under 12s have to have an adult at all times but children from 13 to 17 do access the premises at lunchtimes for snacks, ice cream and such like, and after school they do come in for a panini or something of that nature.”
“So they would quite like that to be permitted, unaccompanied – that is against your policy – until six o’clock in the evening.
“After that they are likely to be accompanied by an adult for a family event or if they are coming in for food.
“It is not somewhere someone would be going, if you’ll excuse the terminology, for a booze up.
“I don’t think this will harm children, especially 13 to 17-year olds.”
Board chairman Craig Fotheringham said licensing bosses must be flexible to support the hospitality industry post-lockdown.
“The hospitality sector has been decimated in the last year,” he said.
“When it does re-open it will be subject to very strict regulations.
“We have got to be flexible here and help these small businesses – any businesses – that are trying to diversify to survive.
“I have no issue with this application.”
Café owner Susan Bowman opened the 40-capacity business in September 2019.
She said she was delighted with the flexibility shown by the board and becoming a licensed café could open up new opportunities.
“We were open for six months and doing really well before the pandemic happened,” she said.
She adapted the business to keep it running online and said it had proved a success.
“I have furloughed the four staff. We just need to get running again and get working from there.
“We have lots of ideas but are just looking forward to being open again.
“I’m delighted the licensing board has helped us by granting the application.
“It’s about being able to offer people a glass of wine or prosecco, but it is not about turning us into something different from a café.
“This opens up possibilities for us to have local businesses in for something like a cheese and wine evening or small family parties.”