‘We don’t want it to turn into a Magaluf strip’: Battle over Italian cafe’s plan

Neighbours of an Italian-themed café in Leeds have said they fear the area turning into a “Magaluf strip”, if it’s allowed to stay open late.

2 Sardi, on Harrogate Road in Rawdon, has asked Leeds City Council for permission to sell alcohol until 10pm.

It currently closes at 5.30pm, half-an-hour after alcohol sales cease.

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The café’s owner told a hearing on Tuesday that he didn’t intend to open late every night if the extension was granted, but would do so on an ad-hoc basis in response to popular demand.

‘We don’t want it to turn into a Magaluf strip’: Battle over Italian cafe’s plan‘We don’t want it to turn into a Magaluf strip’: Battle over Italian cafe’s plan
‘We don’t want it to turn into a Magaluf strip’: Battle over Italian cafe’s plan

But neighbours living around the venue fear being disturbed and are worried about the prospect of other local businesses staying open late themselves, in response to any extension being granted.

One objector, John Chadwick, told the hearing: “When we bought our property, we knew the café would be open until 5pm. If it had been different we wouldn’t gone ahead with it.

“Obviously this changes everything.

“Basically the main issue is noise. We have cars pulling up and going in for a coffee and restricting my access. And that’s during the day.

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“To have it on until late at night is not fair in my opinion. You can’t police people when they’ve had alcohol. It will impact our lives.”

Expressing concerns about the prospect of other neighbouring businesses opening late at night, Mr Chadwick added: “We don’t want it to turn into a Magaluf strip.

“Where do you draw the line?”

2 Sardi’s owner, Antonio Pinna, insisted customers would be asked to leave quietly and to respect neighbours.

He also said the venue would not be run “as a bar or pub” and that the area “won’t be another Magaluf strip”.

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He told the hearing: “We put the application in because we opened just before the pandemic and we had a really tough time.

“We managed to survive and we’ve become part of the community.

“It (the application) doesn’t mean it has to be (open until 10.30pm) every single night. It could be once a month or even fortnightly.

“It could happen every week or two days a week. Unfortunately it’s unpredictable.

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“We had a restaurant which we sold because we have children and we wanted to spend time with them. We don’t want to go back to a restaurant.

“It’s just about having the opportunity to trade a few times a month or once a month.”

Guiseley and Rawdon councillor Eleanor Thomson (Labour) appeared alongside the objectors at the hearing.

She suggested a compromise cut-off point of 8pm – an idea also put forward by Rawdon Parish Council and two local Tory councillors ahead of the meeting.

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Councillor Thomson said: “We want to make sure businesses are able to thrive. But how do we find a balance that protects both them and the residents?

“I’m very aware of the potential change to the nature of the area as a consequence of cumulative impact.”

Mr Pinna later told the hearing he would accept a condition prohibiting the use of the cafe’s outside space after 8pm.

But he said he would “not be happy” with a condition limiting the number of times he could open late to 30 a year, because he wanted freedom to respond to popular demand.

At the hearing’s conclusion, all parties were told they’d be informed of the council’s decision in writing within five working days.

The decision itself was not read out at the hearing.