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Cafe granted permission to open late despite concerns
A CAFE which had been accused of running an illegal shisha lounge has been granted permission to open late at night.
But the licensing panel said they were "disappointed" that no-one from the firm turned up to the meeting where their application was being decided.
The owners of the Hookahs cafe in Hey Street, Bradford, had applied for a licence to play music and offer late-night refreshment until 1am daily.
But a Council officer had concerns that shisha pipes were being smoked illegally at the cafe, on the ground floor of the Campus House student accommodation block - a claim the management denied.
Environmental health officer Abdullah Hans said on a visit to the business, he saw three shisha pipes "in use", and a staff member refused to give his name, or the name of the owners.
Mr Hans said he feared that any CCTV cameras set up at the premises "would be used to prevent or obstruct enforcement officers having direct access to the building".
Cafe manager Ajmal Ali, who wasn't at yesterday's meeting at City Hall, has previously told the Telegraph & Argus that shisha pipes were not being smoked there - but an electronic alternative, similar to an e-cigarette.
On the application form, the firm also said music would "be kept to a reasonable level", patrons would be asked to leave quietly and no deliveries would take place outside office hours.
Granting the licence, Bradford District Licensing Panel imposed three conditions.
These were that the music from the cafe should not be heard at the nearest "noise sensitive premises" such as a home, that CCTV footage should be kept for 30 days and must be available to authorities such as the police or licensing officers on request, and that all external doors should be kept unlocked and available for entry without appointment whenever the cafe is open for business.
The panel's decision had been deferred from a previous meeting - when the firm had sent an agent to represent them - partly to give the cafe bosses another chance to turn up in person.
He said: "It was perfectly clear to the agent that they were deferring it to give them the opportunity to be present."