Basildon Afro Caribbean restaurant granted late alcohol licence

A former hair salon which is being turned into an Afro Caribbean restaurant has been given a licence to serve alcohol until late by Basildon Council.

Veil Restaurant and Grill, formerly Access Unisex Hair Salon in Battleswick, Basildon, will be allowed to sell alcohol to its customers indoors between 11am-midnight, Tuesday-Sunday.

According to officers at a Basildon Borough Council licensing subcommittee meeting earlier today (August 2), the restaurant was originally intended to stay open until 1am, but this was reduced after discussions with the council.

Several neighbours have welcomed the change, saying it will help bring together a diverse local community, but others raised concerns about potential noise and parking issues.

Applicant Benjamin Brem told the committee: “I’m opening up a restaurant that will be for the community, for alcohol and food. It’s not a bar, it’s just a restaurant where people can come and sit here and have cocktails and eat their food.”

The application received seven representations of support from residents, and three objections.

One objector who spoke at the meeting, Benjamin Stewart, said he was concerned allowing the restaurant to sell alcohol until late could “exacerbate” an existing problem of antisocial behaviour and noise in the area.

He continued to say his children struggled to sleep at night because of noise from other establishments nearby, and also said Mr Benjamin’s previous customers were not using car parks nearby.

He said: “I do think that the restaurant itself is a brilliant idea, but my concerns are that of the immediate vicinity and the people that live here.”

Mr Brem described Mr Stewart as a “friend” and said he could speak to him if he experienced any problems.

Announcing the sub-committee’s decision, Councillor Daniel Lawrence (Con, Billericay West) said there was no evidence of antisocial behaviour directly linked to the premises, and that the restaurant would have signs telling customers to park in the nearby large car park.

One of the written representations submitted to the council before the meeting read: “You can’t imagine how delighted we feel and still feel when we found out that barber’s shop at Hardy Road is being turned into an Afro Caribbean restaurant.

“For someone who has been living here for nearly eight years. It will create jobs and bring the Basildon community together as a diversified community as it has always been.”

Additionally, Wendy Reddon, one of two supporters who spoke at the meeting, said: “For me and my daughter, we don’t have much interaction with the community, so to have an Afro Caribbean restaurant like this right on our doorstep, it’s a big bonus for us.”

The restaurant has been granted a licence for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises on Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-midnight.

The licence also allows for recorded music between 11am-11pm and late night refreshments between 11pm-midnight.

Veil Restaurant and Grill’s opening hours will be 11am-midnight.

Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter