Residents win restaurant hours battle

A RESTAURANT owner has agreed to cut back the opening hours of his new venture following protests from residents.

A RESTAURANT owner has agreed to cut back the opening hours of his new venture following protests from residents.

Tim Yeo wanted to open his new Café Bencotto until 3am - though he said the early hours licence would be rarely used.

But the idea of any opening of the Mediterranean-style premises in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, past midnight drew a stream of objections from people living in the streets around the town centre.

A report to be discussed by Suffolk Coastal's licensing and health sub committee on July 29 - which will decide the licence for the café - said there had been 54 letters received with people fearing hordes of late-night revellers bringing noise, rowdy behaviour and vandalism to the peaceful area.

Following meetings with the police and Suffolk Coastal officers, Mr Yeo has now agreed to make changes to the application.

He has now agreed the café will close at 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and 1am on other days. Alcohol would be served until midnight each day, except 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve opening would be until 2am.

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He has also agreed to abandon plans for live outdoor music, and to restrict music indoors to 12.30am Monday to Thursday, 1am Friday and Saturday and 11pm on Sundays.

The council says if the sub committee agree these terms, there will be other conditions on the licence to ensure noise from the restaurant does not have an impact on the area.

The council report said: “The licensing authority wishes to safeguard the amenity of residents and other businesses from the potential adverse consequence of the operation of licensed premises whilst recognising the valuable contribution that such premises make to the local economy as well as their social and cultural significance.”

Mr Yeo said: “The reality is we will probably be open until 11pm during the week and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. But if New Year's Eve falls on a Monday, for example, we may want to stay open until 1am or 1.30am, or there may be the occasional party or wedding that doesn't end until that time.”

Mr Yeo, who owns The Alex in Felixstowe, bought the Bencotto Steak House last year after it closed and is carrying out a major refurbishment project on the property, which was originally the Felixstowe Fire Station.

Are you worried about the new Café Bencotto? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail