A cafe owner has spoken up and defended his decision to ban children under five from his premises.
Parents have criticised Tony and Beverley Flackett, who run Harley’s Cafe and Coffee Bar, in Fountain Square, Hanley, for the controversial rule.
Some shoppers have said they’ll never return to the establishment after being turned away while with young children.
The venue reopened last month after a £100,000 refurbishment, reports StokeonTrentLive.
It’s now filled with music, film and sport memorabilia which are mounted on the walls and ceiling.
The cafe sells panini, toasties, wraps, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and more. Many also say it sells the best breakfast in the area.
But, a sign outside the coffee shop warns the public “sorry, no children under five”.
Tony said: “We have had a no under-fives policy for 23 years simply because they run around, the mess they make and we don’t have the facilities in the toilets.
“We have signs outside on the board and on the door.
“I think we’re the only place that doesn’t let under-fives in and people say they like coming here as there is no screaming kids.”
He added: “I know people get annoyed about it, but at the end of the day that’s the policy. It’s not that we don’t want children in, just five years and older.
“We don’t have the space for pushchairs all over the place, we’re not exactly a massive cafe.
“There are plenty of other cafes that let kids in, it’s not like they haven’t got anywhere to go.
“We had a couple of kids in this morning, they sat down and were well behaved, but children at two or three start running around and screaming.
“We have a lot of valuable stuff in here and we don’t want them to start messing around with them.”
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StokeonTrentLive readers say they have been turned away for having young kids with them.
One woman said: “Loved their food, I went in a lot while I was pregnant.
“Unfortunately no under-fives are allowed. I’d say it’s more for the kids not to touch all their items on the walls. Nothing to do with the pram space.
“I think it’s so wrong, so I’ve not been in since as my daughter is now 21 months. I think it’s more kids touching and other customers moaning about screaming babies.”
While another added: “I used to love this place, but one of the last times I went for breakfast I was told I couldn’t go in with my child in a pushchair.”
And a third noted: “They don’t allow children which doesn’t help a mother who just needs a nice coffee.
“I tried get in the other day but he turned me away cause I had my child with me.”
Do you think these cafe owners are right to ban young children? Tell us in the comments…