Sweaty Betty sports shop is no fit place to sell booze, say angry residents

West End residents are fighting plans by a high-end fitnesswear shop to sell alcohol at its flagship store, saying it is “against the ethics of a healthy lifestyle”.

Sweaty Betty has applied for a licence to sell alcohol from 10am to 8pm, seven days a week, at the health food cafe on the first floor of its three-storey Carnaby Street shop.

But neighbours claim there will be “inevitable rowdiness” if the licence is approved. 

One resident said: “Sweaty Betty is a sports shop promoting a health, fitness and wellbeing lifestyle. A licence is against the ethics of a healthy lifestyle which the Sweaty Betty promotes and advocates…

“For it to promote alcohol is at odds with its own ethos. This will only result in people who have already drunk to go on to drink more at other establishments at later hours.”

Sweaty Betty: DJ and model Charlotte De Carle at its launch party last year (Dave Benett)

The Soho Society, which works to improve facilities in the area, objected on the basis that residents in nearby Upper James Street already suffer from noise and nuisance.

Spokesman David Gleeson, said: “You don’t come to Soho because it’s a Buddhist meditation area. But what we’re trying to protect is the delicate balance between the domestic residences and the commercial residences.”

Nathan Herrmann, who lives near Carnaby Street, said: “I’m fine with Sweaty Betty handing out glasses of cava. Anything that businesses can do to survive the age of Amazon I’m OK with. But if you sell it, it turns it into a bar and I think that’s not quite right.”

The British fitness clothing brand, founded by Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton in Notting Hill 20 years ago, moved to Carnaby Street last year. 

A spokeswoman said: “As a brand we believe in balance, we love to start the day with a green juice and end with a cocktail.” She added: “However, the building will be closing at 8pm and we’ve applied for a specific licence designed for retail properties, so there are strict guidelines in place in regards to when and how customers can enjoy an alcoholic drink.”

She also added that the firm had met residents to discuss the plans and address their concerns.

The application will be decided by Westminster City Council’s licensing sub-committee on Thursday.

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