By Robert Firth, local democracy reporter
Neighbours of a restaurant given a late-night drinks licence fear it’s becoming a bar ‘by stealth’.
Brixton restaurant El Rancho De Lalo was granted permission to serve alcohol until 11pm by Lambeth Council on January 13.
But locals living near the Colombian restaurant, which opened last year, fear that by selling drinks it will become a late-night boozer.
Residents of Ivor House say noisy punters already keep children awake late, and they worry the problem will snowball if it becomes a magnet for drunken revellers.
Henry Ilves, who lives in the art-deco apartment block, said the request for an alcohol licence was a departure from the original purpose of the restaurant.
He said: “The original application did not ask for an alcohol licence which is why I did not object.
“Now it feels like by stealth we could soon be living above a bar.
“The area itself is plenty loud enough, believe me. Having music and the noise of drunken revellers penetrate into your home in an already noisy area would be too much.”
Speaking at a licensing meeting on January 13, fellow resident Nick Powell said: “A lot of those bedrooms have children sleeping in them. I don’t care what they say. We’ve all been to restaurants and bars and we know when people have had drinks they’re going to be rowdy and they’re going to be merry and jolly.
“I think there’s a lack of consideration by the owners here because they just don’t see the problem because they don’t have a bedroom that overlooks the front of a restaurant like this.”
But Manuel Rocha, representing the restaurant, said it has put in place measures to prevent disruption to residents.
He said: “This is not a bar so nobody (will) go there only to drink. Signage will be displayed asking customers to respect our neighbours.”
He also said CCTV will be installed, staff will ask for ID in line with the Challenge 25 scheme, and there will be staff training and a log book. He added that the manager will monitor when customers leave the premises.
“I think the licence objectives will be protected, and I think the neighbours also will be protected,” he added.
The restaurant will be banned from serving drinks in open containers to takeaway under the licence conditions.
A maximum of five smokers will be allowed outside the building at any one time.
El Rancho De Lalo moved to its new home next to Ivor House last year, after outgrowing its previous premises in Brixton Village Market where it had operated since 2010.
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