A church community hall in Leeds wants permission to serve alcohol until the early hours of the morning.
The Greek Orthodox church in Harehills has applied for an extension to the serving times in its community hall, requesting a licence to serve alcohol until 12.30am each day – an extension from its current licence to serve alcohol until 11pm.
Several letters from local residents, including a petition, claim such a move could risk increasing public nuisance in the area.
But a separate letter from the applicants claims the licence would only be for special events, and that many complaints made against the community hall were exaggerated.
One letter from a member of the public read: “There is a real danger that a licensed venue will attract drugs and crime. This is not a wealthy area and drug dealing is already an issue. Additionally, the combination of people drinking till (sic) late at night and then spilling out onto this residential street doesn’t look good for public safety.”
Another spoke of the fact their children were suffering from disturbed sleep, adding: “We live in a multicultural and lovely area, the church and their attendees are welcome and we have a good relationship.
“However, we feel accepting the new licence conditions would create issues and tensions in the community.”
A petition, appearing to include 29 signatures, was also submitted to the council’s licensing department “rejecting” the proposed changes.
The application is set to be heard by Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee in the coming week. The committee will also consider a letter of support sent in by applicants Greek Orthodox Community of Leeds (GOCL).
It read: “We have been working with Leeds City Council, our local councillors and local police in various ways to create a more pleasant and safe community. We have been involved in community engagement days such as community cleaning days and the get-together event which present our pure and active care for our local community and environment.”
It added that the current licence was only used occasionally, for community events, weddings and Christenings.
The letter continued: “Our main operation is not selling alcohol and provide regulated entertainment. Our main operation is being a community and as part of this we do social gatherings where we sell alcohol.
“We have been sad to see that many of the complaints are significantly exaggerated and not true. Some of these issues also impact us but are not connected with our presence and operation.”
The application will be heard by the sub-committee on Tuesday, April 16 at Civic Hall, Leeds.