St Albans restaurant wins battle for later opening hours

The Premier Inn building works outside Bar Meze

The Premier Inn building works outside Bar Meze - Credit: Archant

A popular Greek-Cypriot restaurant in the city centre has been given the go ahead to increase its hours of opening after going to appeal.

Bar Meze in Adelaide Street, St Albans, was restricted in its opening hours by a condition attached to planning consent for change of use from retail to a restaurant granted in 1994.

When the restaurant applied last year for a change to the condition which would allow an extension to the opening hours, the district council refused on the grounds that they needed to safeguard the amenities of nearby residential properties.

But after hearing that longer hours at Bar Meze using Temporary Event Notices (TENs) had not resulted in any complaints, planning inspector Diane Fleming gave permission for the restaurant to remain open until midnight from Sunday to Wednesdays and until 1am from Thursdays to Saturdays.

Giving her reasons for the decision, Ms Fleming pointed to the restaurant’s close proximity to a nightclub, a hotel with a restaurant and bar at ground level and the main thoroughfare, St Peter’s Street.

She felt that the premises were sited sufficiently far away from properties in Catherine Street and the western end of Adelaide Street and departing customers would disperse away from them because of the location of the car parks, bus stops and taxi ranks.

Ms Fleming also drew attention to the change in the character of the area since Bar Meze opened with a new Premier Inn built opposite and the increasing popularity of al fresco dining.

In conclusion, she felt the size and capacity of the restaurant in comparison with other larger premises in the area that were already open later in the evening would have little impact on footfall.