Seafront venue loses in its bid to swap plastic for glass

Plastic glasses will have to stay on the menu at Brighton’s newest seafront venue, the Shelter Hall.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:24 pm
The Shelter Hall wanted to reduce its plastic waste and use glasses instead

The operators asked to vary the conditions of their licence so that they could use real glass instead of polycarbonates in the outdoor seating areas.

But Sessions Market, which runs the venue, in King’s Road Arches, failed to persuade a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel.

In 17 weeks of trading last year, the company said that it threw away more than a thousand plastic glasses.

The company’s solicitor, Jack Spiegler, told a licensing panel hearing last month that throwing away so much plastic did not 'sit well' with Shelter Hall’s management.

Sessions Market founder and chief executive Daniel Warne told the panel: “If you’re serving a £100 bottle of local sparkling Sussex wine alongside a meat platter from Kenny Tutt (the Masterchef winner), the expectation is you get that from the wine bottle itself and in a glass.

“If this is a restaurant with crockery and cutlery, that is what consumers will want.”

Sussex Police objected to drinks being served in glass on the terrace on the lower promenade.

Police licensing officer Mark Thorogood said that the seafront was 'alive' with visitors and glass would increase the risks.

The licensing panel said, in its decision, that it shared the concerns set out by the police that glass would end up on the beach and 'pose a risk to public safety'.

The panel of three councillors added that they appreciated the problem with plastic.

They also refused to lift a requirement for tables and up to 200 seats at pre-booked private functions and events – and said that the venue’s high poseur tables must also stay.

The Laine Pub Company, which owns the nearby Fortune of War and the Tempest Inn, backed the police objections to removing the tables.

They feared that it would allow 'vertical drinking' and would be a move away from being a food-led outlet.

Shelter Hall was granted a licence last year as a food-led outlet with no vertical drinking.

In its decision, the licensing panel said: “The panel shares the concerns of the police and others that this is likely to lead to a significant erosion of the food-led nature of the premises, with a large capacity area becoming more of a vertical drinking establishment.”

Shelter Hall succeeded in one aspect of its application. It can reduce the number of kitchens open in the final hour of trading from three to two from November to February and from Monday to Wednesday during the summer.

And for the final half hour of trading, just the main kitchen is required to stay open.