Calderdale board game cafe gets go-ahead to sell alcohol

Calderdale councillors have granted a premises licence for a board game cafe, meaning it can now sell alcohol at certain times.

Calderdale Council’s Licensing Sub-committee approved the application from The Boardroom, at Rochdale Road, Todmorden.

Paul and Nicola Middleton at their board-game cafe, The Boardroom, Rochdale Road, Todmorden

Paul and Nicola Middleton at their board-game cafe, The Boardroom, Rochdale Road, Todmorden

They heard representations from The Boardroom’s Paul and Nicola Middleton and considered an e-mailed objection to the application from Mark McGregor.

The licence means the cafe can play recorded music indoors from 9am to 5.30pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, and from 10am to 5pm on Sundays, and can supply alcohol for consumption on the premises from Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.30am to 11pm.

Mr McGregor had objected on two grounds under licensing objectives, which are set nationally – public safety, because he felt smoking or vaping customers would assemble on the street corner, blocking traffic site lines onto Rochdale Road from Hall Street, and the protection of children, because he believed that if the cafe was allowed to serve alcohol it could expose children to it and side-effects such as bad language, sexual expletives and violence.

But councillors said after hearing from the couple that they felt both issues were being adequately addressed by the cafe.

Nicola Middleton the reason for the application to sell alcohol was to reach out to a different clientele.

“We have been approached by many board game groups who want to use our space but want to have a drink,” she said.

The smoking or vaping issue was unrelated to alcohol, she said, people who used the cafe now went outside to do this. Mr Middleton, a driving instructor, said the junction was bad one meaning traffic had to drive right up to it and stop before moving further in any event.

Mr Middleton further explained about the cafe: “We are not a pub where people come to drink, we are a place where people come and play board games and would like a drink. We are offering a friendly, social environment.”

Coun Rob Holden (Ind, Ryburn) asked how large groups could be prevented from going in for a drink and Mr Middleton replied that The Boardroom was not a big space and did not have a bar as such.

It would be bottled beer or glasses of wine and the environment would be that of table service and “a sit-down drink.”

Mrs Middleton said a lot of tables were reserved in advance for game playing and it was not a bar atmosphere.

They had bought a cabinet which meant alcohol could be kept under lock and key, she added.

In their application the couple said they and staff – six local people are employed – were aware of their responsibilities, including towards children. Mrs Middleton told councillors the premises were a family environment.

All parties involved have a right to appeal the decision at magistrates’ court within 21 days.