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Tesco's Harris & Hoole coffee chain withdraws bid to get an alcohol licence

Published:  12 September, 2013

Harris & Hoole, the London and South East coffee chain which is 49% owned by Tesco, has withdrawn a controversial application to serve wine and beer in its Twickenham outlet.

The application was due to go before the licensing committee last night but was withdrawn at the last minute, a spokesman for the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames council told Harpers.

The coffee shop opened in St Margarets Road in Twickenham earlier this year, despite opposition from local people who wanted to protect independent retailers already present in the neighbourhood.

Harris + Hoole's subsequent application for the right to serve alcohol seven days a week, from 11 am to 10pm, caused particular concern because of the branch's proximity to a primary school.

Mark Halton of the borough's police licensing team was one of the main objectors, claiming that granting the license would "attract street drinkers to the area and cause an increase in anti-social behaviour".

Harris + Hoole

Another, anonymous, objector felt that the area already had enough alcohol-serving premises.

Harris + Hoole - which is part of the new retail concept being showcased at Tesco's newly revamped Extra store in Watford - has already won licences for its coffee shops in London's North Finchley and Surrey's Walton-on-Thames, and is expected to add wine and beer to their menus soon.

Adding alcoholic drinks to its offering was in response to customer demand, said Harris + Hoole.

The company would not confirm why it withdrew the licensing application, but told Harpers, in a statement: "We value the communities where we have shops and always look for an open dialogue with our neighbours."