WINCHESTER licensing chiefs have approved an application ahead of a deal that will see a well-established venue change hands.

Café Centro, on the corner of St George’s Street and Parchment Street, is being bought by James Mitchell, whose family run Nicola’s Tea Shop Romsey.

Cafe Centro will now become Nicola’s Tea Shop Winchester, and Mr Mitchell has been granted his wish to screen films downstairs in the basement.

Current planning permission already entitles him to have a live singer downstairs and he can also serve alcohol until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

At a meeting in the Guildhall on Monday (March 3), William Sclater, a resident of Parchment Street, expressed concern.

“It’s one of those streets where we have to get a good balance, it’s largely residential and there are a lot of young families.

“There is concern about it becoming a late night bar,” he said.

But Mr Mitchell was granted the licence on the basis that films would be shown only in the basement, and he told the meeting that alcohol would be served as option for diners and that the venue would not become a bar.

Speaking afterwards, 24-year-old Mr Mitchell said: “I’m very happy with this. I’m delighted. We’re just finalising the agreement (to take over the cafe) this week.” The area around Cafe Centro has been a source of contention in the past.

In 2011 civic chiefs scuppered plans to revamp it and create an outdoor continental-style café area.

Traders in St George’s Street led by Tom Romita, of Tom’s Deli, campaigned for refurbishment, but it was dismissed by the then-council leader, Cllr Kelsie Learney.