A Fitzrovia restaurant offering pan-Indian cuisine has won an extension to its hours after councillors on a Camden licensing panel agreed to additional measures to prevent noise nuisance, despite opposition from neighbouring residents and businesses.
The 1947 Restaurant at 33 Charlotte Street, with its entrance in Rathbone Street, already had a licence for the sale of alcohol for consumption on and off the premises until midnight from Monday to Saturday, and until 11.30pm on Sunday; and to serve late night refreshment until 12.30am Monday to Saturday, and midnight on Sunday.
But they then applied to Camden Council to extend the hours for the sale of alcohol until 1am from Monday to Wednesday, 1.30am Thursday to Saturday; and for the sale of late night refreshment until 1.30am Monday to Wednesday, and 2am from Thursday to Saturday.
Nineteen representations initially opposed the application. They were from the police responsible authority, Camden’s licensing and environmental health responsible authorities, two from local resident associations, and fourteen from local residents and business.
However, the responsible authorities later withdrew their objections after the applicant agreed to reduce the hours for the sale of alcohol by 15 minutes for Thursday to Saturday and offered a number of conditions to address their concerns.
Camden’s Licensing Panel C — councillors Jonathan Simpson (Chair), Sylvia McNamara, and Matthew Kirk — heard from residents and a nearby hotel complain about incidents late a night.
Daniel Harris from the four-star Rathbone Hotel said guests’ sleep was disturbed in the early hours after two temporary events in 2021 and 2022 held at the nearby restaurant.
He described “fights going on in the street outside” and a large number of people leaving “at the same time”. The hotel had complained to the police and Camden council about the disturbance.
Harris said there was vomit outside the bank and staff had to replace plants outside the hotel after people sat on them.
“It really was not a great impression for our guests, most guests at the front of the hotel had difficulty sleeping.”
He explained the hotel was concerned about the impact of later hours six nights a week. “It is a residential area and the noise is extremely disturbing.”
Residents living in Lancaster Court, which faces onto Rathbone Street, told how they were affected by late night noise with people talking loudly and car drivers queuing in the narrow street as they tried to sleep.
The Charlotte Street Association residents group said the requested late hours were “unacceptable” no matter what conditions they came with.
“Just the numbers coming out of these large premises in the early hours of the morning, however well behaved, they are will be noisy,” they warned.
Lawyer Chris Rees-Gay, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the high end restaurant will have an “extremely robust operating schedule” for the later hours and its request is backed with a petition signed by 285 people.
He said the owners had 20 years experience of running restaurants and they had a chef who has worked at Michelin rated eateries. The restaurant has seating for 87 customers.
He said the two incidents highlighted happened when the venue was let out for a private party in the aftermath of Covid shutdowns of the hospitality industry, to generate income.
He explained that “customers were dispersing all at the same time,” but this was not how the restaurant operated and said other complaints residents mentioned could be connected to other venues in the area.
Rees-Gay said strict rules will include only serving alcohol with meals, extensive CCTV, staff training, risk assessments, an incident log and staff actively dispersing customers at the end of the night.
Neil Saggar from 1947 London told Camden’s licensing panel: “Our customer base are not the type of people that are going to go out and cause disruption.”
He said the venue had 27 temporary events and “our history is pretty good, we have worked closely with the police.” Saggar said they would not be renting out the venue for private events.
He said the extra hours would mean the restaurant could run a third sitting as “there is a big call for it”.
He explained there is a strict booking policy to manage numbers and preparing meals, with a maximum of 20 diners in a group, and he did not think a request for Security Industry Authority accredited staff from 11pm on Mondays to Wednesdays was practical.
Resident Savvas Photiou spoke in favour of the later hours: “It’s a nice family run restaurant and I think it’s an asset to the local community, they produce lovely food.”
Councillors on the licensing panel said they were satisfied with the conditions offered and approved the application.
They agreed to increase the hours for the sale of alcohol to 1am the following morning from Monday to Wednesday, 1.15am from Thursday to Saturday; and for late refreshment to be served until 1.30am Monday to Wednesday, and 2am from Thursday to Saturday.