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Neighbours angry over new Norwich nightclub plans

The Essence bar in Prince of Wales Road.

The Essence bar in Prince of Wales Road.

©Archant Photographic 2010

Plans for a new Norwich nightclub have sparked controversy, with more than 250 people signing a petition organised by the nearby Islamic Centre to oppose the proposals.

The owners of the Essence bar in Prince of Wales Road want to transform a storage area and offices at the back of the venue into a nightclub.

A previous proposal to extend the bar was rejected by Norwich City Council in February and there have been a number of objections to the latest scheme.

The nearby East Anglian Islamic Centre has handed in a 268-signature petition objecting to the plans, while the Central Norwich Citizens’ Forum also wants it refused.

Abdul Hamid Sikder, the general secretary of the centre, wrote to the council with concerns over noise and smoke, plus increased intimidation of the congregation.

He said: “As we are an Islamic cultural centre we do many activities which involve children, women and disabled people. We have serious concerns about their safety since the proposed nightclub will attract a lot of young drinkers. We have serious concerns about the safety of our members.”

He added the the centre was used for late night prayer and some members had been verbally abused by drunks.

Gae Parry, from Barker Parry Town Planning, said, on behalf of the applicant Michelle Williams, that an acoustic survey had been carried out and noise insulation would be used.

She stressed there would be no access from the Rose Lane side of the venue - only via the Essence bar in Prince of Wales Road.

She added: “My clients are aware of the sensitive issue of the potential for noise and disturbance that can occur within the vicinity of Prince of Wales Road. The current proposal will not in any way exacerbate the current situation that exists in the area.”

City Hall officers are recommending planning committee members approve the plans when they meet on Thursday.

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