New Oasis Lounge bar planned for former Waterfront gym site
- Credit: David Vincent
There are fears the former Anytime Fitness centre on the Waterfront could become a nightclub after a drinks and entertainment licence application was submitted - but neighbours are being reassured that is not the case.
Applicant Amr Eissa has assured those living in flats along the Waterfront he is only planning to play background music in the new Oasis Lounge on Regatta Quay - and although he is applying for permission to open until 2am seven days a week, most nights it will close much earlier.
Mr Eissa, who already runs the Makani Cafe Bar and Lounge in Tacket Street, said he wanted to be seen as a good neighbour: "We want to open a high-class restaurant and lounge bar. The entertainment would just be background music. It is nothing like a nightclub.
"We are applying for the late licence in case people want to occasionally book it for a party. We are not looking at having it open that late often - we will be a restaurant and lounge bar."
He has also applied to Ipswich Borough Council for planning permission to convert the former gym into a bar - and if the applications are successful he hopes to be open by the end of the summer.
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He said: "We are ready to go if we get planning permission. I would like to be able to open at the end of August or September."
The fitness centre closed in August 2019 and has been empty since - but the application has provoked concern from some local residents because of fears of noise and disturbance in the early hours.
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The unit occupies the bottom two floors of the corner section of the building - and there are flats above.
Ipswich Central is keen to get empty units in the town centre and Waterfront occupied again, but chief executive Paul Clement feared this application could attract widespread opposition.
He said: "I think the problem is the description of an entertainments licence running into 2am in the morning which sounds like a nightclub. There are cafe-bars and restaurants nearby and that would be fine - but I can see issues with this application."