Deli and wine bar in St Pancras wins approval – but residents’ concerns over anti-social behaviour picked up by licensing boss

Islington Town Hall. Photograph: Islington Citizen

Residents’ concerns about anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing near a busy road by St Pancras station have been picked up by a licensing boss.

Cllr Angela Picknell, chairing a licensing committee, pledged to raise their worries with the councillor in charge of community safety Sue Lukes “to see if we can get the situation improved”.

She said: “The anti-social behaviour does not sound acceptable.”

Residents from Camden Mews shared their concerns as the licensing sub-committee considered an application for Half Cut Market – a deli selling food and drink on York Way, with space for up to 25 people on the premises.

It will take bookings for people eating there to prevent queues building up on the street and will not be holding any drinks promotions “as we do not want to encourage excessive drinking” and will operate the Challenge 25 scheme to prevent underage drinking.

The residents said they welcomed the proposed deli but were concerned about the problems they were already experiencing, which have nothing to do with the proposed new venue, including people urinating and defecating in the street, drivers with loud cars stopping at the top of the street and drug-dealing.

One resident said they saw “the nice middle class people getting the drugs for their parties” outside.

People feared that the problems at the top of Camden Mews “aren’t being dealt with by Islington and Camden”.

Residents said they welcomed the idea behind the Half Cut Market and thought it would be “a local asset”.

Micheal Harper said: “Goodness knows that we need nice establishments on York Way. I think it would be a very nice establishment.”

He said residents wanted assurances about licensing hours and what they experience late at night.

York Way is close to the border of Islington and Camden and residents who live opposite want to see more done to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“Our concern is the anti-social behaviour that spills over onto Camden Mews. The noise people just aren’t there when you need it,” one said.

Another said the problem was “people coming into the area”.

He said the street was also like a tunnel which amplifies noise.

Susan Collins said:  “People tend to pull up, leave their engine running and leave their music running. We really need the council to step in and try to help manage the situation.”

Lawyer Niall McCann sought to alleviate the residents’ concerns.

He said the Half Cut Market would only have background music and there would not be a loud, party atmosphere.

“We say four people having a meal won’t be heard over a busy road.”

He explained that the venue would not be attractive to people who just want to drink as the alcohol on offer would be too expensive and not strong enough.

The team behind the new venture “have been looking for suitable premises for a  long time to have their talents and interests”.

He said it would offer wine and food such as Asian-styled small plates.

“I think if this business doesn’t work I think I will throw in the towel,” he added.

He said conditions will ensure that  all patrons are seated for ticketed tastings, and the deli and wine shop will have to offer 75 per cent craft, artisan, biodynamic or organic wine. He said that would be virtually impossible for a mainstream off licence.

He added: “We want to be a good neighbour. We want to get the community involved with us, we think without them we won’t be a success.”

He told residents: “We appreciate that you are nervous. We want a long-term relationship with you and we really hope you like what we open.”

Residents had also raised concerns about tables and chairs on the street.

McCann said there will be very few tables and chairs.

“It is small, limited and supervised.”

The licence was approved.