Strong objections from local residents have failed to block proposals to convert part of a landmark Georgian building in Chichester city centre into a restaurant and wine bar.
The district council’s licensing and gambling acts sub-committee agreed to grant a premises licence for the business, Marco’s, at 1 Northgate – but with a series of conditions aimed at addressing the local concerns.
Councillors heard that the ground floor and basement of the property, which was formerly occupied by a firm of estate agents, would be used, serving ‘high end food,’ with 46 covers.
Customers were expected to include patrons of the Festival Theatre, a few minutes’ walk away.
Residents in nearby Franklin Place warned that there would be increased late-night noise and parking problems after residential parking restrictions ended at 5pm.
They claimed the slamming of car doors at gone midnight would be intolerable, and the hours of opening proposed would have a ‘horrendous’ impact.
Solicitor John Murdoch, representing applicant Marco Ruggieri, said the building, dating from around 1780, would be converted into a high class restaurant.
The premises were separated from homes by a substantial commercial building, so there was already a considerable barrier.
Restaurants were not notorious for attracting people who behaved in an anti-social manner, Mr Murdoch told the sub-committee.
Franklin Place resident John Guess said local concerns were about noise nuisance and public disorder.
The late operation would create ‘incredible noise’, and residents were not allowed to install primary double glazing because their properties were listed buildings. Susi Richardson, speaking on behalf of herself and a number of other residents, said the hours of activity proposed seemed more like those of a public house.
“This will lead to a public noise nuisance,” she declared.
The sub-committee approved the licence application subject to a series of conditions mediated by the police and the council’s environmental protection team.
These included monitoring and controlling noise levels when entertainment was provided, no entertainment in the garden area, installation of CCTV, and no use of the garden area after 11pm, except for people wanting to smoke or in case of emergency.