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Windsor restaurant manager pleads with councillors for alcohol licence

James Bagley, Local Democracy Reporter

Windsor restaurant manager pleads with councillors for alcohol licence

The past of a previous owner 'from hell' haunted a new restaurateur as he pleaded with councillors to allow him to serve alcohol and play music.

Anil Kumar, owner of the Lounge in Windsor, urged councillors on the licensing sub-committee on Thursday (January 7) to grant him a new premises, alcohol, and music license.

The 13a High Street venue was formerly known as the Suede Bar & Lounge but Mr Kumar has since become the new manager of the place.

He hoped to open the restaurant – which would specialise in wine and cheese – serve alcohol and play both recorded and live music from 10:30 until midnight, Monday to Sunday.

Private bookings and parties for various user groups such as rotary clubs was also proposed.

However, historic noise disturbances from the previous owners of Suede Bar – which was served a noise abatement notice by Environment Protection (EP) – came back to haunt Mr Kumar following several representations from objectors.

Some residents at the meeting feared this application was masquerading as a bar and were concerned the loud music and rowdy behaviour from patrons would return.

Janelle Gill, who owns four apartments at 12a High Street, said it was 'absolutely hell' for two and a half years when Suede Bar was open.

He said: “I’ve got no objection to a restaurant. My suggestion would be don’t have live music or any kind of music whatsoever and definitely not amplified.

“You don’t need a sound system if you’re having a cheese and wine restaurant.

“And the private parties, you know what, don’t have private parties. I know it’s your business model – but unfortunately, this is opening the door up for exploitation and manipulation as the previous owners did.”

Mr Kumar said he was 'shocked, appalled, and disgusted' at what residents had to put with over the years and offered the objectors his direct contact details as well as a chance to look around the restaurant post-Covid to quash any concerns.

He said: “Had I been aware of the history of this building and previous operators, I would have perhaps started to have earlier dialogue with the local residents on what our vision for this restaurant is.”

Mr Kumar emphasised this won’t be a bar or nightclub as he would’ve 'looked for opportunities under the arches in Windsor' if that was the case.

He also said he has put in soundproofing and noise limiters if the amplifiers were to reach past certain decibels to comply with residents’ concerns.

This didn’t quell the objectors fears and they suggested Mr Kumar should consider playing quiet, ambient music instead of amplified tunes or don’t play anything from the sound system at all.

EP said they were still concerned with the noise from people outside the business on their smoke break and requested Mr Kumar provide a management plan to mitigate this potential disturbance if the application was to be approved.

They also asked for a new acoustic report to make sure the noise limiter and soundproof walls are operating to standards.

Panel members will give their decision by January 14.

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