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Concern over Norwich bar plans

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:15 02 July 2010

Plans to expand a Norwich bar into this building have run into opposition.

Plans to expand a Norwich bar into this building have run into opposition.

The owner of a city bar plans to expand and double its floorspace by taking over an empty warehouse and office block - but the application has led to concerns being raised by members of the nearby Islamic Centre.

The owner of a city bar plans to expand and double its floorspace by taking over an empty warehouse and office block - but the application has led to concerns being raised by members of the nearby Islamic Centre.

Sprowston-based Anglia Restaurants owns Essence bar in Prince of Wales Road and has applied for a change of use at a two-storey brick building behind the venue in Rose Lane, east of St Vedast Street.

It hopes to run the new bar as an extension of its current premises - subject to further planning permission to create a connection between the two buildings - and make use of the existing garden/smoking area courtyard used by patrons of Essence.

But the empty property concerned is next to the Islamic cultural centre and mosque, which has objected to the plans over concerns that noise from the existing external smoking area would worsen and fears the bar would disturb late night users amongst the Islamic congregation and cause a safety concern for visitors.

They also fear that it could spread crime and disorder away from Prince of Wales Road and drain police resources.

Commenting on the agenda, a member of the Islamic community, known as Ali, said: “We are worried about our safety really, and whether it will lead to more people drinking on the streets outside. We are a centre for peace and prayers so any extra noise and violence could cause us problems.”

Council officers have however recommended the plans be approved at next week's committee meeting, and state that any concerns raised by neighbours could be controlled by planning conditions attached to permission. Officers also said that use of the existing smoking area was already controlled.

The empty building has recently been used as a warehouse for storage at ground floor, with offices on the first floor, and plans have been lodged for a change of use on both floors to a drinking establishment.

The proposed hours of use/opening of the bar have not been specified.

No external works are proposed and public access into the premises is intended to remain that of the main entrance on Prince of Wales Toad, however one of the conditions attached to any planning permission could be that it operates with a frontage onto Rose Lane.

If permitted the application site would almost double the overall internal floorspace of the Essence bar.

The owners of the bar were unavailable for comment.

The planning applications committee will be held at City Hall on Thursday, February 25.

Have you objected to the council over a planning application? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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