A newly-opened coffee shop in the heart of Ellon has been granted a drinks licence – despite numerous objections from neighbours.
Coffee Apothecary – which has been funded by a £200,000 cash injection from Ellon-based brewing giants BrewDog – wanted to sell alcohol until 11pm daily and provide off-sales until 10pm.
Nearby residents said their peaceful lives would be shattered by the arrival of alcohol sales at the coffee shop which they claimed, having only been open for three weeks, was already having a negative impact on their lives.
An agent for BrewDog, which made the application to Aberdeenshire Central Licensing Board, stressed the newly-established business in The Square was “not a BrewDog bar but a coffee shop”.
Audrey Junor told the board that the BrewDog team were regular customers of Jonny and Ali Aspden at their existing Udny coffee shop and saw the potential of “investing in the Ellon community”.
She said the alcohol provision would feature five lines of BrewDog beer along with some wines and gin, but that was supplementary to a quality, locally-sourced menu.
Among the residents objecting to the late-night alcohol licence was Sarah Kyle who claimed it would give rise to anti-social behaviour, increased noise late at night and additional traffic at all hours.
Others were concerned about smokers congregating outside their homes, loss of privacy and extra pressure being put on the existing limited parking spaces.
Laura Craig of Gordon Rural Action said the group feared it may have to relocate offices if the drinks licence was served. She said clients accessing the charity’s confidential services – many of whom were vulnerable persons and often with mental health issues – would feel threatened coming into a far busier area, particularly for out-of-office hours advice.
She told the board: “I hope it won’t affect our charity which is critical and vital to the Ellon community.”
After hearing that representations from the council’s licensing standards team and Police Scotland had been withdrawn, the board approved a reduction in the licence from 11am-10pm daily with off-sales from 10am-10pm.