Cafe granted on-licence despite objections

A Central Otago cafe has been granted an on-licence despite objections from the manager of the Bannockburn Hotel, who lives next door.

The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority met in Queenstown yesterday before Judge John Hole.

Aaron and Annett Burgess, the owners of The Kitchen, applied for an on-licence for their business, near the established Bannockburn Hotel. They wanted an on-licence for evening dining but the application attracted nine objections, including from the hotel manager Bronwyn Stewart and her husband John.

The Stewarts did not object on any business-related grounds but on the grounds their private residence is sandwiched between the hotel and the cafe.

Mrs Burgess told the authority she and her husband were experienced chefs and restaurateurs with a long work history in Germany, London and Sydney.

It was not financially viable to operate a business without an on-licence, the couple was responsible and had invested their life savings in the venture, she said.

They bought the cafe as a going concern in August.

"Aaron and I are both passionate about food and always worked towards our goal of owning our own neighbourhood cafe. Without the ability to serve alcohol we are limited to being a lunchtime cafe.

"There's the fact she is the manager of the hotel and doesn't want the competition."

The couple sought an application to serve alcohol to 9.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays and to 8pm from Sunday to Thursday.

Mrs Stewart told the authority the objection was based on noise and her husband, a truck driver, was often at work from the early hours.

"We are both quite stressed out and it's making us think of selling. We bought our property for the peace and quiet of Bannockburn."

Judge Hole said the authority intended to grant the application for an on-licence and said The Kitchen had an obligation to consider neighbours and ensure noise was kept to an acceptable level.

The Southland Times