Waterfront bar and restaurant bid rejected following 53 objections

Regatta Quay

The former Anytime Fitness site at Regatta Quay on the Waterfront - Credit: David Vincent

Plans for a new Waterfront restaurant and bar for Ipswich have been rejected following an 'unprecedented' volume of public opinion.

Amr Eissa, who runs the Makani Café Bar and Lounge, in Tacket Street, submitted a drinks and entertainment licence application to open Oasis Lounge at the former Anytime Fitness Centre in Key Street.

Ipswich Borough Council's licensing and regulatory sub-committee rejected proposals following a public meeting at the Town Hall on Monday.

The council received 53 representations from members of the public since April 23, when Mr Eissa submitted plans to open the venue within a 'Cumulative Impact' zone, where the borough operates a policy of expected refusal unless it can be demonstrated that the premises will not add to any existing impact.

Initial proposals would have seen the Oasis Lounge open seven days a week, from 10am to 2am, with alcohol sales on and off premises, and recorded music, live music and performance of dance – both inside and out.

At the opening of the meeting, Mr Eissa moved to quell noise and nuisance concerns from neighbouring residents, the police and environmental protection by shortening licensed activities to 12.30am, dropping the requirement for live music and off-premises alcohol sales altogether, and insisting he ticked the wrong box concerning the performance of dance. 

Speaking on his behalf, Terrence Kemmann-Lane said: "Mr Eissa wishes to run a business that protects the public interest.

"He will employ properly trained staff to do that, including security staff, and ensure order is maintained both inside and outside the premises."

Suffolk police had responded to the application with concerns over the potential behaviour and dispersal of customers leaving the venue.

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Licensing officer Sharon Betts-Palmer said there had been issues concerning breaches of conditions at Mr Eissa's other premises within two months of its opening.

Environmental protection officer Mick Cheong called the building "entirely unsuitable" for the proposed venue, even with Mr Eissa's late amendments, comparing its cast iron structure to a "giant tuning fork".

Local resident Andy Rudd argued that the venue would become a "haven for those seeking to extend their night out into the early hours".

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