Coffee shop bans all children under the age of 12

The owner of a posh coffee shop has sparked outrage - by banning all children under twelve.

The owner of a posh coffee shop has sparked outrage - by banning all children under twelve. Picture: SWNS
The owner of a posh coffee shop has sparked outrage - by banning all children under twelve. Picture: SWNS

Bob Higginson, 61, threw open the doors to his ocean liner-themed coffee shop only a month ago.

Serving posh teas, coffees and homemade cakes, The Chart Room, in Brixham, Devon, is themed around early 20th Century steamship travel.

And Mr Higginson, a former head waiter aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner, decided he would welcome dogs to his eatery but requested no children under the age of 12 came to visit.

Although no ban has been imposed on families with young children, there is a sign up saying under-12s are not catered for.

But he has faced calls for a boycott from angry residents citing “discrimination”.

Mr Higginson said: “My main demographic are older, more mature people who want peace and quiet.

“I wanted people to be able to come and discuss the old days and have a nostalgic chat without children running around and distracting them.”

He cited breakages by children as one of the reasons for banning them, and said dogs had never presented such problems.

The cafe opened within the Brixham Steam Packet Company shop, which sells collectables and memorabilia.

Mr Higginson said: “There are nice and expensive artefacts around which are not behind glass cases like they would be in a museum, and we’ve had things broken by children in the past.

“We have never banned anyone. Yes, we welcome dogs. A lot of people have assistance dogs or pets they bring with them and they don’t jump around taking things off the tables.

“I’ve never had a badly behaved dog come in, no dog has ever broken anything in the shop.”

Due to limited space, he said there could only be one wheelchair or pushchair at a time.

Mr Higginson added: “During busy periods we might say to people please come back when it’s quieter.

“The age limit of 12 may be adjusted at a later date if we think we’ve set it too high.”

The father-of-two, who has adult children aged 24 and 21, said he ‘loves kids’ but there are plenty of other places in the neighbourhood where they can go.”

But outraged Wendy Moore called for people to avoid visiting the cafe.

She said: “Who on Earth does Bob Higginson think he is? Would be ban disabled people from entering his premises?

“Or people of a particular race or colour or religion? I’ll bet my bottom dollar he wouldn’t.

“Or how about the elderly? Ban them as well, would he? No, he wouldn’t - that would be ageism. So how come he thinks it’s OK to ban children of a certain age? This is blatant discrimination.”

And Lee Knight added: “I’d rather go to a place full of happy, loud kids running about than some dark, quiet, miserable building with everyone sitting about moaning and sipping tea but that’s just my choice.”

But many people waded in to support Mr Higginson’s decision.

Sharon Taylor said: “If parents would exert better control of their children, it wouldn’t be necessary. However parents seem to be afraid of controlling their children. His business...his rules!”

And grandmother Karen MacMillan wrote: “I have had children and now have young grandchildren and I have no problem with it being adult only.

“There are plenty of places in Brixham where children are welcome so by all means if someone feels that strongly then boycott it, it means more seats available for us that want a quiet coffee.”

Some people even suggested he upped the age limit to ban teenagers as well.

Declan Croft wrote: “Children are annoying full stop. I’d ban anyone under the age of 18.”

Mr Higginson justified his decision saying there were many other child-friendly options for parents to visit if they wanted to take their children out.

He added: “I haven’t set out to offend anyone and I apologise if I have offended anyone. I didn’t expect it to be such a controversial subject.”

A Torbay Council spokesman said: “Whether or not children (under 18s) are permitted on a premises is not legislated.

“Therefore, there would be no direction from the council as to whether a business can or cannot permit entry to children.

“This would be a matter totally at the discretion of the premises licence holder or if not licensed then the business/premises owner.”