The bakery chain Greggs has been refused an overnight license for a large new store in central London amid claims it could become a “hotspot for late-night disturbances and antisocial behaviour”.
The company applied to extend the opening hours of its new Leicester Square branch, which operates between 6am and 11pm from Monday to Saturday, from 11pm to 5am.
However, Westminster city council rejected the application after police and residents raised “legitimate concerns”.
The council said a formal decision with details of its reasoning would be published within five working days.
Aicha Less, Westminster council’s cabinet member for communities and public protection, said: “We’re as excited as anybody about the arrival of Greggs in Leicester Square and I’m sure people across the West End will flock to get themselves a sausage roll, steak bake or jam doughnut.
“However, legitimate concerns have been raised by the police and local people that these plans are half baked. There are concerns that businesses serving 24/7 in the city center creates challenges and that the bakery could become a hotspot for late-night disturbances and antisocial behaviour.”
A representative for Greggs told the BBC that the overnight hours would generally attract emergency service and shift workers rather than antisocial groups and that there was no nearby seating “for people to loiter”. It said it would have CCTV and would always have a door supervisor.
A spokesperson said: “Greggs is an excellent neighbor … There’s no intention to draw hordes of new people in. There are other Greggs offers in the locality, so it’s not as if everybody needs to descend upon this particular premises.”
The Guardian has contacted the Met and Greggs for comment.