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Caerphilly Politics South Wales

MasterChef contestant wins bid to serve alcohol at new restaurant in Caerphilly

Geshmak will replace The Deli at 6 Clive Street, Caerphilly, pictured in May 2023 (Pic: Google)

A FORMER MasterChef contestant who has just opened a new restaurant in Caerphilly has won her bid to sell alcohol on the premises.

Caerphilly Council’s licensing committee was impressed by Francesca Kierle’s record as a business owner, saying they had “confidence” she would run Geshmak, on Clive Street, in line with licensing regulations.

Ms Kierle’s “positive conduct” in applying for the alcohol licence, and her “demeanour” at a recent committee meeting, suggested to councillors she “took her licensing responsibilities with due seriousness and consideration”, the committee said in its decision notice.

During that meeting, former teacher Ms Kierle said she intended to serve alcohol with meals at her new restaurant, in a “warm and calm” atmosphere for diners.

Her previous business in Newport had been unaffected by any antisocial behaviour, she said at the time.

Some local residents who objected to the application frequently referenced an “off-licence”, and in their decision the committee members said those complaints “relied on a link between off-sale alcohol and antisocial behaviour within the town centre”.

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But the committee “fully accepted” Ms Kierle’s argument that her business was “fundamentally different [from] a small shop selling off-licence alcohol”.

The licensing committee said it “afforded little weight to the resident objections” when making its decision.

“The residents were appearing to, colloquially put, ‘compare apples with pears,’” the committee said.

In granting the licensing application, the committee said it accepted Ms Kierle’s plan for off-sales was to sell “boutique or unusual spirits or wines as part of gift hampers and the like, from a small deli counter within the premises”.

“This was an aspect of the intended business which differed from her previous restaurant in Newport,” the committee said, adding that “that there was a very remote risk of individuals buying such alcohol from this premises to consume in public and behave inappropriately within the locality of the premises – which may be more of a risk with a small store, for instance, selling high strength lager in multi-can packs”.