Cllr Janet Burgess

Concerns: Islington Mayor Janet Burgess. Photograph: Islington Council

Islington’s Mayor has joined a residents’ forum in pushing back against the addition of any more licenced venues in Archway, warning that the area is “saturated”.

Cllr Janet Burgess and the Better Archway Forum are opposing plans by two new venues to open in the area this week – cafe/restaurant Norman’s on Junction Road, and Beni cafe on Holloway Road.

In response to both applications, Cllr Burgess said: “Several years ago Archway was designated a saturation area in terms of the number of licences that were then held by many businesses in the area. 

“Since that time the number of licences has actually increased. I maintain that we do not need any more such licences in this area.”

Residents involved in the Better Archway Forum say they are “very unhappy with the growth in alcohol licences”, claiming that it has closely correlated with a rise in anti-social behaviour (ASB).

According to Islington’s policy for the area, the “main issue of concern” in Archway is the number of off-licences, and the resulting impact on locals in terms of nuisance, ASB, alcohol related ambulance call outs, crime and disorder.

Archway has the highest concentration of off-licences in the borough, with an average of one per 317 residents, as well as hosting the Whittington Hospital, mental health facilities, and a transport hub.

In response to this, the Town Hall introduced special hours for off-licences in the area, and now encourages applications in the area “that bring cultural opportunities for residents”.

Writing in support of his application for Norman’s, owner Elliott Kaye wrote: “We have worked in high-end places with Michelin stars over the past few years and have received a lot of positive attention from media outlets and locals.

“We have saved and planned for this cafe over the past eight years and we feel strongly that the establishment will be great for the area and bring a lot of positive attention to it. It is a cafe serving great quality food, and one where we hope people can meet and have a relaxed time over a nice meal. 

“We are giving the locals the opportunities for jobs and to gain skills – for instance, we have hired a young local who wants to train to be a chef. We have also hired a neighbour who lives across the road who wants to learn how to make coffee and this is our intention going forward – to give back to the community.”