A new restaurant in Marsden has been granted an alcohol licence – but will have to stop serving at 6pm.

Asian fusion restaurant Café Oi is due to open in Peel Street in the centre of the village later this month.

The restaurant, run by Maisie Davies and Mollie Power, grew out of an award-winning street food venture. Now the business duo have invested more than £50,000 to turn a former ice cream parlour and diner into a chic restaurant.

Café Oi says it needs to sell alcohol in order to ensure the business thrives however a businesswoman who runs a shop next door and lives above said late-night drinkers would make her life a misery.

Mrs June Barraclough, 79, who has run ladieswear and accessories shop Bits and Pieces for 40 years, feared noise and nuisance and said Marsden had more than enough licensed premises.

Mrs Barraclough launched a paper petition against Café Oi’s application to serve alcohol from 10am to 11pm.

In response Café Oi launched an online petition, garnering much support in the village. More than 2,100 people signed the petition and supporters packed a meeting of the Kirklees Council Licensing Panel at Huddersfield Town Hall.

At the end of a two-and-a-half hour hearing, which heard evidence from both sides, the panel decided to grant the application with conditions.

Panel chairman Clr Amanda Pinnock said that due to concerns about “public nuisance” the licence would be granted from 10am-6pm Monday to Sunday. She said Café Oi could make an application to vary the hours later but would have to overcome objections about “public nuisance.”

The premises don’t have planning permission to open beyond 6pm Monday to Saturday and 5pm on Sundays but there is a separate application to change that.


Mollie Power and Maisie Davies at the licensing panel


Mollie Power told the meeting that the restaurant was all about great food though customers wanted premium alcohol, such as natural wine and craft beers, to complement the food.

Mollie said: “I really can’t stress enough that we are a food-first business. Our main product is dumplings, all handcrafted and handmade, me and Maisie make them from scratch.

“We won the Northern title of the British Street Food Championship, we went to London and won a Spice Award, we were nominated for the Chopsticks Awards and we went on Sunday Brunch.

“People have seen us from the accolades we have achieved and that’s why they come, they come to try our food. It’s a family-orientated food-first restaurant, that’s exactly what we are.”

Mollie said they had never had any problems or complaints at a previous venue in the village and Maisie added: “We want to work in harmony with our neighbours.

“We have never set out to have any conflict or make anyone uncomfortable. We will do whatever we can to make sure our café is a peaceful and serene environment. We don’t want to impact the enjoyment of anyone’s home or business.”

Objectors raised the potential for anti-social behaviour in Marsden linked to the Ale Trail but supporters said those problems were firmly in the past.



Speaking in support, wedding celebrant Hannah Wroe Gill described Café Oi as “one of the most exciting things to happen in the village in the 12 years my husband and I have lived there.”

Referring to concerns about the Ale Trail, Mrs Gill said: “Much is made of the Ale Trail as if the bulk of the previous issues are still occurring.

“I used to come home from summer weddings in the early evening to find two policemen on horseback near the church and a riot van in the village centre. Those days are long gone, thankfully.

“If there are still issues those need to be addressed as they have been successfully before with a security presence on the trains, not by banning perfectly legitimate alcohol licence applications in the village.

“The scaremongering nature of some of the language used in those complaints is hysterical, the idea that a normal life might become impossible, for example.

“So much of what’s in those complaints about Marsden is about it being kept somehow from being ruined or overwhelmed. That’s just not the case. Our high street has some fabulous businesses but is it fulfilling its potential as a whole? I would say it isn’t.

“We are widely recognised as a large village or small town that needs new thinking and I think Maisie and Mollie personify that new thinking.

“And just one more character reference. I don’t know Maisie and Mollie that well. I’ve got to know them better through this whole process.

“I messaged them on Instagram quite angry on their behalf about the surreptitious campaign that’s been waged against them.

“But they only had positive things to say. They could have sent a rant back to me but all they wanted to do was take a coffee round to their neighbour and have a conversation to resolve any concerns.

“They really care about the community of Marsden, even the people who were threatening everything they have worked so hard to achieve.

“If the Northern Powerhouse is anything, it’s people like Maisie and Mollie. We need more ideas and spirit and ambition like theirs, not less. They are a real asset to the village.”

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Pete Toon said: “This is what we need to bring people into Marsden. It’s about a much bigger picture. You have to look at growth on the high street and what it means to the village.

“The support here is not an attack on the objectors. It’s about supporting a fledgling business that’s good for the village. I hope the applicants don’t just succeed but thrive.”

Another supporter, Dave Green, added: “Those new businesses that have brought investment to Marsden should be applauded and we need to support them because they are the future of the village.”

Mrs Barraclough told the panel her “lifestyle would be non-existent” if the licence was granted. She wouldn’t be able to relax in her own home, go to bed when she wanted or have family or friends around.

Maisie said Café Oi was not a “drinking den” and they had invested over £50,000 to make it “peaceful, serene, relaxing and calm.”

She added: “We are investing to make it beautiful and to bring people into the village, not to hurt anyone.”

She told Mrs Barraclough: “We will do our very best to manage the noise and make you comfortable.”

Summing up for the supporters, Mrs Gill said Marsden didn’t want polarised opinions and added: “We don’t always agree but Marsden has to move on.”


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