Relief as residents learn Hamlet Cafe is to become ‘a proper restaurant’

Hamlet Cafe &Restaurant

Hamlet Cafe & Restaurant. Photograph: Google

A formerly acrimonious dispute over a licence to serve alcohol in an Islington restaurant ended last night in an “outbreak of cordiality”.

Islington Council’s licensing sub-committee met on 7 August to hear objections to the granting of an alcohol license to the Hamlet Cafe.

The application had attracted objections from residents who warned of potential “aggressive outbursts and public order problems” and made allegations of abusive behaviour on the part of the Hamlet’s current leaseholder, Zafer Dougan.

Attempts to block the application were swiftly dropped when it was understood that the licence was being sought by a new leaseholder, who intended to transform the Hornsey Road business.

Resident Steven Weaver, who had objected to the licence, said at the meeting: “We’ve had a cordial meeting and discussed the issues which have been exacerbated by previous owners.

“We saw the place being turned into a non-stop brawl, but as it’s going to be a proper restaurant I want to withdraw my objections.”

The license was granted to the new leaseholder, Azmi Pala, who will be rebranding the Hamlet as a Turkish restaurant.

One of the conditions attached to the licence will be that Dougan will be barred from being employed in any capacity on the premises.

Weaver had been one of four residents alarmed at the prospect of the Hamlet being granted a license in its present form.

One of the objections submitted to the sub-committee in advance of its meeting had read: “There are some vulnerable individuals who ‘hang out’ in the Hamlet Cafe. The last thing these people need is a conducive environment [for] alcoholism.

“We have had quite enough of out-of-permitted working hours from the café, which has a total disregard for Islington planning law and regulation.

“I would ask, as there have been so many instances [of] Islington Council’s noise team, environmental control having to deal with and serve notices on Mr Dougan, that I could remain anonymous. He became extremely abusive!”

Cllr Gary Poole (Lab, St Mary’s) chairing the sub-committee said: “An outbreak of cordiality is always good. We are content to grant this licence application.

“Just to reinforce – this is a positive start. Communication between the neighbours is essential, and we are glad to hear that there is already a dialogue.

“Your greatest allies are your neighbours, and we hope that this will continue.”