New Tim Hortons coffee outlet being opened in Washington granted licence to open until 5am

Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons has won permission to open through the night at a planned store in Washington.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 5:33 pm
Canadian chain Tim Horton is planning to open its first North East branch in Washington
Canadian chain Tim Horton is planning to open its first North East branch in Washington

Last year, the firm was granted planning approval to open a restaurant at the vacant Frankie and Benny’s unit at the Galleries Retail Park.

A separate application lodged with Sunderland City Council’s licensing department also sought permission for ‘late night refreshment.’

This included trade between 11pm-5am, both indoors and outdoors including delivery.

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In addition, the firm applied for 24-hour opening times, seven days a week.

However, the extra hours do not include the proposed drive-thru facility, which is currently permitted to open between 7am-11pm.

During a council consultation on the application, a single neighbour objection was received about the potential impacts on nearby residents.

The objector noted noise and anti-social behaviour issues linked to the previous use of the unit, with fears this could be repeated when Tim Hortons opens, alongside concerns about litter and light pollution.

The objection triggered a formal meeting of the city council’s Licensing Sub-Committee on Tuesday (March 30), which was held via videolink and broadcast on YouTube.

In the absence of the objector, Tim Hortons representatives moved to reassure the sub-committee that measures were in place to minimise disruption.

This included the ability to ‘dim’ outdoor illuminated signs if there were any issues and an extra condition banning bottles being emptied into external bins between 10pm and 7am.

Another condition also clarified that Tim Hortons would be responsible for the area and litter collection.

Councillors heard there were no objections from Northumbria Police and that alcohol sales and regulated entertainment were not included in the licensing application.

However, concerns were raised during the meeting about the site’s outdoor area becoming a gathering place during anti-social hours.

Tim Hortons representatives said the chain was known as a coffee operator, rather than a fast food restaurant, and that its ‘target audience’ during the early morning and evening would mainly be shift workers.

They added they did not anticipate groups gathering during these times but that minimum numbers of staff would be in attendance to monitor this.

In addition, safety and security measures would be put in place in conjunction with the 24-hour opening hours.

Councillor Andrew Wood asked whether there would be signs recommending that customers sit indoors during the early morning and late at night.

Responding, a legal representative for Tim Hortons said that the chain wanted flexibility based on the nature of the offer, but if there were any issues with large outdoor gatherings in future, they would be managed accordingly.

After retiring to consider the application in private, the council’s Licensing Sub-Committee approved the late night licence.

Toronto-based Tim Hortons is known for its coffee, freshly baked goods and other treats and has been expanding across the UK and more recently, into the North East.

The firm has already advertised for a shift manager/ restaurant floor manager role at its planned Washington outlet, alongside similar roles at a proposed store in Boldon.