A deli has been given permission to sell alcohol after it was backed by numerous letters of support.

The Claypath Delicatessen was supported by numerous residents, though there were also objectors who wrote to Durham County Council.

Supporters said the deli was a "valued community hub" and vibrant independent business which was well supported and managed by responsible owners.

The eaterie on Claypath, Durham applied for a licence as a café, bakery and pizzeria selling alcohol between 11am and 8.30pm.

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The council received nine letters supporting the application, six opposing it.

One supporter said he had objected to it originally when it opened in 2010, but none of his fears came true.

"Indeed, I have become very appreciative of this local amenity not just as a delicatessen and high-quality café but also as a very useful place to meet colleagues on community business."

Another supporter said the independent deli "made a considerable contribution to our local area" and encouraged a "balanced community", and small-scale alcohol sale "seems a reasonable step forward for this small family business".

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In one letter, owners Rory and Angela Handy were praised as "valued members of the community" who ran a "trouble-free and well-kept establishment" impeccably, providing a calm, restful, welcoming place for residents and students with a "tranquil and warm" atmosphere.

"In my opinion our area would be worse off without the deli," added the supporter.

"To be able to offer of a glass of wine or beer with food would be civilised enjoyment for customers and could help their business keep going."

Another supporter added: "I would not expect the sale of alcohol to affect the lovely atmosphere at the deli in any way."

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Objectors raised concerns about noise, disturbance, nuisance, disorder, road hazards, anti-social behaviour, waste, parking and protection of children.

Councillors David Freeman and Richard Ormerod said the deli had been "a welcome addition to the street".

However they wrote: "The proposed change will likely lead to disruption to the community.

"We fear that what was a café is now becoming a drinking establishment.

"We feel this application is a further step away from being a small local café to another bar and takeaway in a city centre with already too many of both."

The Northern Echo: Councillor David Freeman. Picture: Durham County Council.Councillor David Freeman. Picture: Durham County Council. (Image: Durham County Council)


One objector anticipated drinking would continue into the night: "Given the typical student clientele of the delicatessen, this is likely to become noisy as the effects of alcohol take hold.

"Those of us who live to the rear of the garden, many of us elderly, find this most disturbing."

Another said: "It appears that there is a degree of 'creep' from its original purpose and we suspect that it will become a 'drinking establishment' or quasi-pub."

Another said it was "inappropriate" and "may attract the negative aspects of the 'night-time economy'".

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One objector spoke of "punters standing around on the street, or in large groups entering or leaving the pubs. It does not create a safe atmosphere."

It was agreed to change the end of alcohol sales to 5.30pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays with a 6pm closing time, after mediation with environmental health officers.

It was also agreed to close the back garden area at 8pm, and not to play music outside.

Alcohol will be sold for people to drink off the premises with a food order, as well as in the venue, but there will be no delivery service, it was agreed after mediation with Durham Police.

The application was granted by the licensing committee with conditions.

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