Plans for new Waterfront restaurant and bar receive over 50 objections

Ipswich Waterfront 24-hour gym Anytime Fitness is closing on Saturday August 31, 2019 Picture: DAVID

The site of the proposed Oasis Lounge in Key Street at the former Anytime Fitness gym. - Credit: Archant

Noise concerns and fears of anti-social behaviour have led to more than 50 objections being lodged against plans for the new Oasis Lounge restaurant and bar at Ipswich Waterfront.

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

Suffolk police, the council and more than 50 residents living in flats nearby have objected to the plans which would see the premises being open seven days a week and closing as late as 2am.

Mr Eissa 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.

Ipswich Waterfront 24-hour gym Anytime Fitness closed on Saturday August 31, 2019 Picture: DAVID VIN

Anytime Fitness closed in August 2019 and has been vacant ever since. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk police objected over noise concerns, the lounge bar's impact on anti-social behaviour in the area and previous breaches of the licencing conditions at Makani, such as opening beyond his licensed hours.

Mr Eissa said people have "got the wrong idea" about what he is proposing, and has assured those living in flats along the Waterfront he is only planning to play background music. 

However, residents of Regatta Quay said the days and hours of operation are "wholly unsuitable due to excessive noise, potential drunken behaviour, mess, and damage to property including buildings and parked cars".

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One resident said a further venue would "promote ‘strip’ tourism" with hen and stag nights for people to visit the Waterfront.

A drawing of the floor plan of Oasis Lounge and Bar

A proposed floor plan of Oasis Lounge. - Credit: Amr Eissa

Others said they didn't object to the creation of a bar/restaurant, but opposed background music beyond 10pm outside and 11pm inside, and the serving of alcohol after 11pm.

Mr Eissa said despite applying for a licence to allow him to open until 2am, the business will be a "restaurant and lounge with only background music" and would shut earlier most days.

"People think I am going to open a nightclub but that is not the case," said Mr Eissa. 

"Most of the objections are about noise and opening until 2am, but it's going to be a restaurant and lounge so there won't be loud noises, we will be indoors with the doors shut. It will be for people to chill and eat good food.

"I wanted to be able to open until 2am for people who want to stay later in the restaurant and for special occasions, but if it is going to cause trouble I don't mind amending the time to 12.30am.

"I don't know why people and the police see it as a problem, we are going to serve good food and a chill out vibe. We are going to be a Mediterranean tapas bar and lounge."

Mr Eissa said he never served outside his opening hours at Makani. 

The Licensing and Regulatory Sub-Committee will meet on Monday to determine the application.

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