Residents table protests over restaurant hours bid

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RESIDENTS are lining up in another battle over the late-night opening hours of bars and restaurants in the Ecclesall Road area.

This time they want the council to refuse an application by La Tasca to stay open an extra two hours, until 1.30am.

Residents have pressed over the years for the authority to restrict opening hours to protect their peace and quiet into the early hours, with pressure for the line to be drawn at 11.30pm.

The request by the owners of the Spanish-style restaurant will be considered by a council licensing committee on Tuesday when 19 objections will be on the table.

They include one from an 84-year-old resident of Wadbrough Road, who says that although he finds it very difficult to write, he wants to express how “incensed” he is at the seemingly regular applications for extensions to premises on Ecclesall Road.

“We already put up with considerable late-night noise from students returning from town, up to 4am most nights,” he says. “The extra noise from people shouting, screaming girls, car doors slamming and taxis waiting for fares with engines running would keep we long-suffering residents awake even longer.”

A resident of Wilson Road says: “Late night drinking should be confined to areas such as the city centre and not encroach on residential areas where it would only lead to an unhealthy decline in the neighbourhood.”

Householders further away are also objecting. “Although we live some distance from the application premises, our street, Rossington Road, is used for evening parking by visitors to bars on Ecclesall Road and revellers often return home late at night up our street,” says one.

“We are also concerned that granting this application will open the floodgates for further late-night opening of licensed premises along Ecclesall Road, which will substantially change the character of the district centre.”

Botanical Area Community Association is telling the council: “Our association firmly believes that granting this application would be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of our community. This belief is based on our collective experience of the impact of late-night drinking and closing and associated noise from restaurants and bars in the area, particularly as there are now many such premises with licences.”

An objection has also been lodged by Endcliffe Corner Community Organisation, which represents residents near Hunters Bar.

In general councillors have tried to strike a balance between promoting Ecclesall Road as a vibrant and cosmopolitan destination and protecting residents from late-night disturbance. They have largely insisted on an 11.30pm closing time.

However, an experiment was approved for the former Walnut Club to stay open until half past midnight. This week councillors decided to allow a six-month experiment at the Velvet Lounge, which is due to replace the Walnut Club, despite community protests.

Council officers said they were unable to monitor the effects of the initial trail fully because of the closure of the Walnut Club.