CRONULLA'S Grind cafe will be allowed to open at 6am, despite residents' protests that noise from early morning coffee drinkers congregating outside was disturbing their sleep.
Grind has operated in Cronulla for 10 years but had to move to its new premises in Surf Lane at short notice earlier this year.
It continued to open at 5.30am while having approval for a 7am start, causing noise complaints from residents in the nearby Belgrave apartments.
Sutherland Shire Council this week granted the cafe a 6am opening time for a 12-month trial on condition it kept only one of its folding doors open and had no outdoor seating before 7am.
Council staff did not support increased trading hours and the council's Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel said the site was not ideally located for a "commercial-residential interface".
Sutherland Shire mayor Carol Provan supported the new hours and said Cronulla was changing and the council should encourage business instead of stifling it.
"Cronulla is coming alive before 7am. Most of the people who come there get a coffee and go," she said.
Cr Provan said the cafe owner had done everything to work with the council.
"He engaged an approved acoustical engineering company to carry out a noise survey at the earlier opening time. To carry out the survey patrons were allowed into the coffee shop early. This noise level was under the level allowed.
"Even allowing for this the council approved a 6am and not 5.30am opening and also required for the door to be closed until 7am. We also are putting this earlier opening on a 12-month trial."
But councillor Howard Boorman said the approval for longer hours would have an unacceptable impact on neighbours.
Cr Peter Towell said he had been in business for 25 years and there was a set of rules by which everyone had to operate.
"It seems to be Cronulla is moving more towards what's good for the almighty dollar and away from what's good for the residents," he said.
Cafe owner Richard Calabro said the decision meant he would "now be able to put on three new full-timers".
"We are not serving partygoers but serving blue collar workers going to work, taxi drivers, business people and train commuters." he said.
"Cronulla has become a cosmopolitan hub. It is alive at 5.30am."
Do you agree with the council's decision?