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Plans for new restaurant bar in Wolverhampton refused over concerns

By Joe Sweeney | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Plans to open a new restaurant-bar in Wolverhampton city centre have been refused.

The former Catellani's Restaurant in School Street, Wolverhampton, occupied by the new First Class Lounge. Photo: Google Street View

The First Class Lounge, in School Street, was formerly home to Cattellani's Restaurant, which closed several years ago.

Applicant Mr Erastus Ndi had hoped to open the venue predominantly as a restaurant during the week and as a nightclub on Friday and Saturday evenings.

He had also applied to provide live and recorded music, late night refreshments and the sale of alcohol on the premises.

However, the two-storey property is located within one of the city’s designated ‘Cumulative Impact Zones’ (CIZ), which means the surrounding area already has a high concentration of licensed premises.

Council chiefs say this put it in a higher risk category in terms of upholding the four required licensing objectives, and relevant concerns were subsequently raised with the committee by each of the responsible authorities.

West Midlands Fire Safety Officer Neil Aston-Baugh said that following an inspection of the premises in February, a number of issues had arisen including a faulty fire alarm, insufficient emergency lighting, a blocked rear staircase and wall panels that were a fire hazard.

He told the committee he was assured that work had since been carried out to remedy the problems, but that he had not received the relevant paperwork and certificates confirming this.

Obligations

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Mr Aston-Baugh said he did not think the application should be allowed to proceed until he had seen this correspondence.

Environmental and public health officers also raised concerns about noise and public safety issues.

Mr Ese Adams-Aliu, acting on behalf of Mr Ndi, told the committee his client had previously served in the British military and fully understood any security risks.

"He has done his bit for Queen and country and now wants to do something for the local community," he earlier told the committee.

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Council solicitor David Abel said: "There is concern expressed for the promotion of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm licensing objectives.

"It was felt there was insufficient information in the application and the operating schedule to show how the applicant would address all four licensing objectives and therefore not have an adverse effect upon them.

"The licensing authority has concerns that the applicant has insufficient understanding of his legal obligations in this regard. The concerns of the responsible authorities have not been met."

Councillor Alan Bolshaw, chairman of the statutory licensing sub-committee, told members: "It is the committee’s decision to refuse the application."

Joe Sweeney

By Joe Sweeney
@JoeSweeneyLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Wolverhampton.

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