Stress from noise felt by upstairs neighbours leads to veto of bar’s licence bid

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

A bar in Orpington has been denied permission to extend its opening hours after neighbours claimed the noise already coming from the space was “unbearable”.

Sjayz Restaurant in Orpington High Street has had its application to stay open until 2am rejected by Bromley council.

The venue had applied to stay open until midnight from Sunday to Thursday and until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights. The restaurant is currency licensed to operate until 10pm on Sundays and 11pm on Saturdays and throughout the week.

The topic was discussed at a licensing meeting for Bromley council on Monday.

Obasi Awa, who owns the restaurant with his wife, said he had applied for the extended hours after noticing customers appeared to prefer visiting the restaurant after 9pm.

Council officers confirmed a planning application had also been sent by the business for the extended hours, but it had not yet been validated by the authority.

Council documents said two separate noise complaints had been received by the authority regarding the venue in February this year, leading to council officers visiting the premises.

Mr Awa said that these complaints occurred when the restaurant was hosting special one-off events when he was given permission by the council to stay open later.

He told the meeting: “It is not a nightclub or a lounge. On the occasions that they did complain, I had a temporary event notice. That was when I had the grand opening and when I had a birthday party. On a normal day, what we have is normal background music.”

Jonathan Pestana, who lives above the restaurant and had previously complained to the council, said the sound on the night of his complaint was ‘unbearable’. He added that he had been contacting Mr Awa by phone since the venue opened last December to ask him to turn down the volume of the music.

Mr Pestana said at the meeting: “I’ve found this really disrespectful to all of us. We live in the building, plus my partner is pregnant as well.

“We cannot enjoy being in the living room with the loud music, and sometimes I need to do work on the laptop and I can’t do it. I’ve been suffering from this for the past three months because the music is too loud.”

Residents said there were four flats above the restaurant with families including young children. Daniella Santos, Mr Pestana’s partner, said that the couple could sometimes hear the music from the premises while they were in their bedrooms on the second floor of their flat.

Mr Awa claimed the two complaints had occurred when soundproofing for the venue had not been fully completed, and that he had since moved the speakers in the restaurant so that they were not directly below the residential flats above. He confirmed with council officers that the space’s soundproofing had been completed on March 26.

Chima Awa, an architect working for the restaurant, said at the meeting: “We’ve already taken steps and we’re prepared to take further steps to make sure that their lives are comfortable.”

The licensing committee decided at the meeting to refuse permission for Sjayz Restaurant to extend its opening hours.

Pictured top: Orpington High Street, where the bar is situated (Picture: Google Street View)

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