Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Turning Base Metal into GOLD; Alchemist Wins Right to Open Up despite Objections

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Turning Base Metal into GOLD; Alchemist Wins Right to Open Up despite Objections

Article excerpt

Byline: SARA NICHOL Reporter sara.nichol@ncjmedia.co.uk

A computer-generated image showing how the bar at The Alchemist planned to open in Eldon Square would look EFFORTS to stop a new cocktail bar being awarded its alcohol licence have failed . Newcastle City Council gave the green light for The Alchemist to open in the city's Nelson Street, in Eldon Square's new multi-million pound Grey's Quarter, to serve booze until 2am.

But the decision was met with controversy and prompted one local company and resident to lodge a formal legal appeal.

Michael Rea, who lives in and owns flats in the Central Exchange, and Endless Stretch LTD, who are involved with nearby Harry's Bar, claimed approving the licence would add to the city centre's anti-social behaviour and alcoholrelated crime.

The case was heard at Newcastle Magistrates' Court, where representations from both sides were made.

Gerald Gouriet QC and James Rankin, acting for Mr Rea and Endless Stretch LTD respectively, said the issue wasn't if The Alchemist would, on its own, cause crime and anti-social behaviour but if it would add to the 'cumulative impact of alcohol issues in the city centre.'.

Mr Gouriet said: "The issue isn't if The Alchemist will be badly run or if there will be crime and disorder at the premises or if the police will be called there. "The only issue is if Alchemist customers will add to alcohol issues in the area and further area. We say it would."

He added: "They (The Alchemist) say their customers are sophisticated, highclass people who do not get drunk. They say it's very much a food venue. They have music, which is not much higher than background level and that The Alchemist isn't for dancing.

"These assumptions are just not true." Mr Gouriet and Mr Rankin claimed The Alchemist would not be serving food between the hours of 10.30pm and 2am and that, from visits to the chain's other premises in Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham and London, it was clear people get 'very intoxicated.'.

They also claimed that drinkers from well-known trouble hot spots in the Bigg Market, Cloth Market, Newgate Street and Collingwood Street would be enticed to the bar. …

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