New Norwich nightclub gets go ahead

A new nightclub has been reluctantly granted planning permission by city councillors, despite concerns over its effect on a neighbouring mosque and families living nearby.

The owners of the Essence bar in Prince of Wales Road had asked Norwich City Council for planning permission to turn a storage area and offices at the back of the venue into a nightclub.

A previous proposal to extend the bar had been rejected by Norwich City Council in February because of a lack of information about the impact of noise.

But applicants Arthur and Michelle Williams, who already own Essence, came back with a revised proposal with details of noise insulation.

However, the nearby East Anglian Islamic Centre, in Rose Lane, had handed in a 268-signature petition objecting to the plans, while the Central Norwich Citizens Panel said increasing the number of people in Prince of Wales Road would lead to further problems in the street.

At yesterday's meeting of the city council's planning committee, the centre's president Mohammed Choudhury spoke of his concerns that violence, verbal abuse and intimidation of the congregation would increase with yet another nightclub nearby.

Lesley Grahame, Green Party city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, said: 'The congregation have had to live with nightclubs growing up around them. There is already a nightclub on one side and a second one would just be intolerable.'

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Applicant Mr Williams said the only way into the club would be via the Essence bar in Prince of Wales Road, not near the Islamic Centre in Rose Lane.

Members of the committee were concerned at the prospect of yet another nightclub close to a number of homes, but officers said the noise insulation measures should stop them being disturbed.

Some members wanted to reject it, but officers advised them that, because it had only been rejected for insufficient noise information last time, there did not appear to be policy grounds to oppose it.

Stephen Little, Green Party councillor for Town Close, said: 'I don't like this application and feel it is insensitive, but I do not think we have the means at our disposal to reject it.'