New Walthamstow restaurant granted alcohol licence despite residents’ objections

A high-end Italian restaurant has been granted an alcohol licence – in the face of a threat of protests outside the premises.

Waltham Forest Council gave the go-ahead to Arte E Pasta, which will open in Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, after a meeting of its licensing commmittee on Monday (September 21).

At the meeting, one resident told committee members and the owners that she was “not averse to getting a placard and standing outside the restaurant” if it was granted.

She and other residents expressed concerns about how the opening of the restaurant might create noise and parking problems or even pose a fire risk to their homes.

Owners Ben and Joanna Anastasiou-Milne said: “We are delighted to be opening this new business in Walthamstow and hope to offer jobs and contribute to the local economy in these unprecedented times.

“We look forward to being part of the community and hope those neighbours who are concerned about our arrival will be reassured once we open.

“Hopefully people will be able to enjoy a plate of fresh pasta and a glass of wine at 93 Shernhall Street before Christmas!”

The husband and wife team have owned Bombetta London in Wanstead for four years and estimate their profits are 60 per cent food sales and 40 per cent alcohol sales.

Ben Anastasiou-Milne told the committee they “have a great relationship with the local community” in Wanstead, adding: “We do not want to upset our neighbours because they are also our customers.”

Speaking at the meeting, objector Nancy Taaffe told the committee the restaurant is a “recipe for disaster”, will cause “acrimony and conflict” by limiting parking and that she would picket it if the licence was granted.

She said: “The main difference between Wanstead and here is we are a residential area. The gentleman (Ben Anastasiou-Milne) seems like a nice man, he runs a nice restaurant, but this is not the place for a new business.”

She called for a more “extensive investigation” into the building’s fire safety, arguing that it appears to be more a “temporary structure” and could pose a risk to nearby timber homes.

Linda Burrows, another resident who spoke at the meeting, said her chief concern about the new restaurant was how it would affect parking in the area.

She told the committee: “The last thing I want to do is come home from work and find there is no parking space left for me.”

A report on the council’s decision notes that parking problems are “not for their consideration and outside their remit” and that the London Fire Brigade had no objections to the application.

It reads: “The committee believes that the applicant has demonstrated would manage the business responsibly and professionally.

“The committee’s view is that the applicant will engage with the residents and alleviate any future concerns they have.”

The restaurant can serve alcohol until 11.30pm Thursday to Saturday and 10.30pm the rest of the week. It can close at midnight every night except Sunday, when it must close at 11pm.

The committee recommended the owners turn off any recorded music by 10.30pm and install air conditioning so the restaurant’s windows can remain closed to reduce disturbance to residents.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter