Racism was a factor in more than 50 objections to a cafe and bar application, councillors were told.

The +355 Coffee Bar and Lounge in Green Lanes, Winchmore Hill, was granted a licence to sell alcohol between 10am and 10.30pm daily, with a closing time of 11pm.

Prior to recent redevelopment work, the premises housed the hair salon Olympéa Beauty.

During an Enfield Council licensing sub-committee meeting on Wednesday June 12, representatives of the applicant Cara Guzmend argued the objections were prejudicial and motivated by the applicant’s ethnicity. 

Introducing the item, council officer Ellie Green stated that the number of objections was a “high volume” for this type of application.

She summed up the complaints, which included that the hours applied for were “too late” for a coffee shop, that customers loitered on the pavement outside and blocked pedestrians' way, and allegations that unlicensed activity was taking place inside. 

However, Cara’s representative, licensing consultant Noel Samaroo said: “We’ve noticed there is a bit of an undertone with regards to ethnicity and a male-dominated premises. 

“I’ve been in licensing since I was 17 and I’ve always worked in London and I’ve always  considered Enfield to be a very diverse, ethnic, and cultural borough. 

“So I was very surprised to see how some of these representations were submitted. We did speak to Ellie about it and we felt some of them were extremely vexatious and they shouldn’t have been allowed.”

Mr Samaroo clarified accusations that the premises breached conditions were “totally unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue”.

He referenced one objection, which claimed groups of men were seen drinking, smoking and gambling at the premises, despite not having its licence yet. 

He said: “The only men that were in that premises at the time were the builders and I know for a fact that the builders weren’t drinking, smoking and gambling while they were working.”

He continued the application’s “very robust” operating schedule had been analysed by the police “hence why they’re not here today”. 

He added the business wanted to be “a part of the community” and not for “mono-ethnic men, standing out in the pavement…disturbing women as they walk past”. 

Of the 53 objectors, only one attended the meeting and chose not to speak. 

Following discussions, committee chair Mahym Bedekova announced the application could be granted after the applicant agreed to modify conditions, including a limit on the number of people using the smoking areas.