GENERATOR BUILDING: Historic building to become flexible work space
An historic building in central Bristol that used to supply power to trams is set to open as a co-working space with a licensed cafe.
The Generator Building by St Philips Bridge at Finzels Reach has now got the licence it needs to sell alcohol in the cafe on the ground floor until late, seven days a week.
It won the licence after the company behind the “collaborative work space” and its catering arm reassured a concerned local resident that it was not going to be a “regular bar”.
Alun Thomas, the solicitor for the applicant, Guernsey-based Spengler Investment Holdings Limited, said the “Clockwise” work space would be a flexible working office for people who do not want to sign up to an office lease.
The space, comprising the cafe on the ground floor and office areas above, will give people a place to work, collaborate and exchange ideas.
“What we want to achieve is to create an opportunity for people to find flexible ways to work, flexible ways to get employment, flexible ways of attracting work into their business, particularly in the media-type fields,” Mr Thomas told a licensing hearing.
“Alcohol is very much an ancillary part of it.”
The new licence allows the cafe to open between 7am and 11.30pm on Mondays through Saturdays, and between 8am and 11pm on Sundays.
But alcohol sales are restricted to between 11am and 10.30pm on Sundays, and 10am to 11pm during the rest of the week.
Richard Connett, who lives in a small block of flats opposite the Generator Building, said the area was increasingly residential and he was worried the neighbours would be kept awake by revellers.
“We are already woken frequently by passers-by late at night and the habit with bars is for people to congregate outside,” Mr Connett said.
But the meeting heard that the cafe intends to keep normal office hours, except when catering evening events two to three times a month.
The licence also allows films to be shown to facilitate such events.
The cafe, run by the Two Hands Food Group, will sell tea and coffee and sandwiches, and provide catering for breakfast and lunch meetings and evening events.
No draught beer will be sold, but glasses of wine and individual bottles of beer will be available.
Members of the public must sign in at reception before being allowed to enter the cafe, and no alcohol may be taken off the premises, the meeting heard.
Only office staff will have access to the building outside of normal office hours.
Mr Thomas said Mr Connett’s concerns were the “antithesis” of what the company was trying to achieve.
The cafe would be “quite a civilised place to meet and greet a friend” and get a glass of wine, he said.
“But at the end of the day, people are here to work, they’re not here to drink all day,” he said.
“The whole purpose of the use of the Generator Building is to work, so if we started using it every night for events, we would be moving out of the lawful use for planning.”
A Bristol City Council licensing committee granted the licence on Thursday, March 25.
Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter
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