A Worthing restaurant’s bid to keep its extended opening hours has been successful.
The Food Restaurant in New Street, was given temporary permission in 2017 to stay open from 8am-1am Monday to Saturday and 8am-midnight on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
An application to make the changes permanent was approved by Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (October 17).
A total of 12 letters of objection were received from nearby residents raising concerns about noise and disruption, but officers described how no official complaints had been received by the council’s environmental health team.
Andy Sparsis, owner of the restaurant, said: “We work incredibly hard as a team to make sure we do not impact our neighbours.”
He explained how their most immediate neighbour was ‘pretty happy with what we are doing’.
Customers are not allowed to come into the restaurant after 11.30pm and the extended hours mean people can stay longer to finish their drinks after a meal.
However objectors described hearing customers leaving the restaurant sometimes bellowing, shouting and swearing, while a lack of available parking was a big concern in the area.
Dan Humphreys (Con, Offington), leader of the council, said they had heard anecdotal evidence from residents ‘who have concerns not just about Food but about night life in the area generally’.
But he added: “However we have got more than anecdotal evidence, we have got evidence coming in from police, from our own environmental health department which is all fairly convincing and building up robust evidence.”
He continued: “This is not a business that is selling drinks to 18-year-olds and getting them drunk and sending them out at one in the morning.
“It’s a restaurant operating in a changing climate.”
Hazel Thorpe (LDem, Tarring) felt the restaurant was ‘operating in the way it should’ and did not see enough evidence to refuse permission.
She added: “There are some people who are very much affected and I would wish they would get together with the owners of Food and sort out their issues amongst themselves.”
Nicola Waight (Con, Goring) said: “We need to support the night-time economy but not to the detriment of those who live there.”
According to a planning report: “Your officers are of the view that the applicants have made every effort to abide by the conditions of the temporary planning permission and the license of the premises, keeping the smoking area at a distance from the residential dwellings, endeavouring to have arranged pick up times to avoid customers standing around outside talking loudly whilst waiting for their taxis.
“Nonetheless, representations have been received in respect of the current planning application, although it could be considered as surprising that the environmental health section have not received any complaints from residents during the previous year.”
The application was approved by five votes to one.