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A restaurant wants to open until 3am on weekends despite the premises’ “troubled recent past” involving multiple stabbings.
Restaurant Chindies, owned by Nadeem Khan, was previously a club called Rebecca’s. The premises, in High Road, Leytonstone, was run by Mr Khan’s tenant James Wheatley until he was evicted due to repeated police incidents.
Mr Khan told Waltham Forest Council’s licensing committee he spent two years and “a lot of money” evicting Mr Wheatley because of crimes connected to the nightclub, including a stabbing on the dance floor and a brawl of around 50 people just outside.
He now wants permission to open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, serving alcohol until 2.30am, in order to host private events like weddings and birthday parties, insisting he will not disturb his neighbours like the previous venue.
However, ward councillor Marie Pye (Lab, Leytonstone) questioned why such events would require longer hours than any other venue in Leytonstone, including nightclubs and pubs.
She said: “The applicant says this is a restaurant but it’s a restaurant that also has a bar in the basement and a dance floor.
“If people are having a birthday party, they are not going to be sitting around sedately… they are going to be wanting to have a bit of a party.
“It’s going to be noisy and that’s fine, until about midnight, but not until two or three in the morning.
“I’m afraid Leytonstone High Road was not called ‘party town’ for no reason and we are doing everything we can to try to turn it back into a good residential area.
“I know there were issues with the previous tenant but I can remember issues going back 15 years with these particular premises.”
Cllr Clyde Loakes (Lab, Leytonstone) submitted a written objection to the committee, noting the premises’ “troubled recent past” but also alleging “there have been more recent issues”.
He wrote: “The location of this premises is very close to traditional residential streets… is it fair that we should allow a late night venue to suddenly spring up in such a location?
“The possible introduction of 21 hours (a day) of alcohol… noise and possible antisocial behaviour cannot go unrecognised or unchallenged.
“I’m afraid I can see nothing but harm coming to the community by allowing this.”
In February 2016, the licensing committee reduced Rebecca’s opening hours from 3am on Fridays and Saturdays until 12.30am after concerns raised by police.
Mr Khan told the committee he attempted to get the council to intervene even before the police requested the licence review and lost “a lot of money” evicting Mr Wheatley for breaking the terms of his lease.
He said: “We took everything (Mr Wheatley installed) out and have made it into a beautiful, lovely family restaurant. I invite any of you to come have a look. It’s amazing.
“Whatever happened in the past with my tenant, please do not tar me with that brush, I have put my life, money and time into this place. Causing nuisance is the last thing we want to do.
“We are not a place where people come to get drunk and party, it’s all a family atmosphere. We will make it clear we do not want any drama, I’m going to try my 100 per cent best to not have these things happen.”
While he insisted he would not host late-night events “every single weekend” but only “occasionally”, councillors questioned why he did not therefore apply for temporary one-off licences as and when they were needed.
The licensing committee will publish its decision by April 27.