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Piccadilly Circus lights could see bar open on top

By Alicia Curry, Local Democracy Reporter

A rooftop bar could soon open atop the Piccadilly Circus lights, if plans are approved.

Westminster City council’s licensing meeting met yesterday to consider an application to open a restaurant above the world-famous landmark.

The venue was one of four applications considered at the junction, as the applicant intends for separate bar and restaurant premises across several floors of the building.

Alun Thomas, who spoke on behalf of the applicant, told the committee of the large-scale plans that hoped to make Piccadilly Circus a destination rather than a thoroughfare.

The four venues would include a three-floor restaurant and bar, named The Devonshire Arms, a sports bar, a public house and a rooftop restaurant and bar which would overlook the London skyline.

But the Met Police have argued against the plans, raising concerns about the impact on the emergency services, namely if the area sees a spike in crime and disorder following an increase in revellers.

PC Dave Morgan, who spoke on behalf of the service, said: “This area of Shaftesbury Avenue is already saturated with licensed premises. It’s taking a real toll on the police at the moment. Crime levels are now higher than pre-Covid levels.”

However, Mr Thomas argued that the restaurants do not promote drinking, and therefore people would be less likely to remain in the area following their outing at the venue.

Some locals also gave their support for the application, saying the nature of the venues will boost the reputation of Soho.

One neighbour said: “I feel the application is a very good one because I know their establishments have a very good reputation and are of good quality. I know it will attract the kind of people to the area we want to have.”

But others were quick to claim that the influx of revellers would be disruptive to their daily lives and that the noise levels in and around Soho are already causing damage.

A survey which was submitted as evidence against the venues spoke to nearby residents, one who wrote:  “Unfortunately my lack of sleep due to noise has caused serious health issues and I now cannot work and suffer anxiety and depression. I’m woken up on average five times per night and have considered suicide.

“Why I’m being denied sleep between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am astonishes me. The freeholders show a total disrespect to the effects that noise has on the residents of Soho.”

The committee is expected to publish its decision in the next week on all four venues.

Pictured top: The famous Piccadilly Circus lights (Picture: Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr)

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