Restaurant gets green light for late night licence on same day government announces nationwide 10pm curfew
- Credit: Archant
An Ely restaurant owner was granted a late licence on the same day the government imposed a nationwide 10pm Covid curfew - despite objections from residents about noise, parking and anti-social behaviour.
Steve Shipp, who opened Inferno BBQ earlier this month, had his application for extended opening hours approved, even though members of East Cambridgeshire District Council’s licensing sub-committee said they understood why the application had caused ‘a great deal of concern to local residents’.
The decision was made following a virtual meeting where members considered concerns from residents about the American-themed restaurant at 78 Broad Street ‘becoming a late night destination for entertainment, alcohol and takeaway food’.
Mr Shipp, who ran The Traveller’s Rest at Chittering and The Queen’s Head at Harston, told members that “due to the building’s maximum capacity of 54 people, you’re not going to get large crowds of people flooding in and out all evening long.
He said: “We have strictly no intentions of opening particularly for late night drinks; it’s purely to accompany the food. And we’re not a bar - it’s only to serve drinks to tables.
“It is not a dancing venue or anything like that; it’ll just be music alongside a three-course meal”.
The late licence means that Inferno - which was formerly Basmati Indian Cuisine - can sell alcohol from 10am to 11.30pm Sunday to Thursday and from 10am to half past midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
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Films, live music, dance performances and recorded music will also be permitted from 10am to 11pm Sunday to Thursday and from 10am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The licencing agreement also states that no new customers can enter the premises less than 30 minutes before closing.
Mr Shipp added that he is “born and bred in Ely” and that Inferno is a “family run community business; we’re not a big corporate coming in to take over.
“We employ 13 members of staff that are all from the immediate area and I’m an experienced operator, having had other restaurants in the past.
“So I know what’s protocol and what we should and shouldn’t be doing - and that will be followed. The staff are experienced and have worked in other premises locally.”
However, one of the objectors, Mr Crawford, raised concerns about anti-social behaviour and asked how Mr Shipp “intends to police any overspill of people consuming takeaways late at night?” Mr Shipp replied to say that all diners are advised that they must not park outside the building - and should instead park on Ship Lane or the Fore Hill car park.
He added that Inferno’s website states that takeaway finishes at 9pm and the kitchen closes at 9.30pm.
Mr Fugle, another resident, said he was concerned about disturbance to residents from raised voices of smokers on the street, increased traffic from taxi pick-ups and anti-social behaviour from intoxicated people.
He was also keen for Mr Shipp to reassure residents that Inferno is not going to become a “regular late night destination on a weekly or daily basis”.
Mr Shipp replied that “we only applied for longer opening hours to enable us to hold one-off events, for example an Elvis tribute night.
A resident who has lived in Jubilee Gardens for six years said he was concerned that it would increase the amount of litter being left behind.
Cllr Alan Sharp also questioned whether the noise from the restaurant would have an impact on local residents; however Mr Shipp said the building is soundproofed and that noise would be monitored.
In his closing statement Mr Shipp said: “Inferno is primarily a restaurant and we don’t have any plans to be a late night venue.”