Residents object to new Walthamstow restaurant’s application for drinks licence

A Walthamstow resident threatening to picket a new high-end Italian restaurant if it is granted an alcohol licence insists those opposed are “not NIMBYs”.

Arte E Pasta plans to open on Shernhall Street near God’s Own Junkyard, but has attracted the ire of neighbouring residents, who fear it will create a disturbance.

The husband and wife team behind the restaurant, Ben and Joanna Anastasiou-Milne, also own Bombetta London in Wanstead and insist they have had no issues with neighbours there.

At a meeting of Waltham Forest Council’s licensing committee today (September 21), objectors raised concerns about fire safety, odours, rubbish, noise and parking.

Nancy Taaffe told the committee: “We are not NIMBYs, we are not opposed to development, we just think that this type of development at this time is a recipe for disaster.

“The main difference between Wanstead and here is we are a residential area. The people behind this kind of application do not live in this area, they have nice houses out in the sticks.

“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 told committee members that, if they granted the licence, “there will be acrimony and conflict” and that she was “not averse to getting a placard and standing outside the restaurant”.

She also called for a more “extensive investigation” into the building’s fire safety and noted that “people did not listen to the Grenfell residents until it was too late”.

NIMBY stands for “not in my backyard” and refers to those who oppose to developments in their neighbourhood that they would enjoy or at least tolerate elsewhere.

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.”

Ben Anastasiou-Milne told the committee the couple have owned their other restaurant for four years and “have a great relationship with the local community” in Wanstead.

He said: “We are not a bar, we do not want to be a bar. When we say our closing time is midnight, that is when our staff go home. We would stop taking orders at 11pm.

“I understand people’s concerns about parking, I fully empathise with that. We do not want to encourage any unnecessary parking if we can help it. Primarily we are going to be a restaurant for locals.

“We like to think we are a responsible neighbour and we do not want to upset our neighbours because they are also our customers.”

The committee will issue its decision in the next five working days.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter