03:25PM, Monday 08 February 2021
A Windsor escape room business has won its bid to serve alcohol – but with conditions.
Graham Lumley, manager of Escape Experience, pleaded with members of the licensing panel sub-committee on Friday, January 29, to allow the business to serve alcohol between 11am and 10pm, seven days a week.
The 14a – 15a Goswell Hill venue also wanted to open from 11am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday.
Mr Lumley said the proposed bar/restaurant – which is subject to a planning application – will be a seated experience and it will be in the outside area of his business in the Plaza.
Only 12 people will be allowed to be seated at the bar itself and the plans say they will be aiming to seat a maximum of 120 people in the restaurant area.
Only Environmental Protection (EP) raised objections to the application, fearing the proposed times will add to the noise nuisance in the area and the lack of toilet facilities will lead to public urination and bad odour.
Mr Lumley agreed to add more toilets.
Whilst Thames Valley Police were happy with the 11pm closing time, EP wasn’t, and suggested Escape Experience closes at 7pm with no extension.
Mr Lumley said: “We’re aiming to be a sit down restaurant with table service. I don’t think the business will be viable without the night-time angle to it.
“We will need to be able to serve beer and wine at tables until 10pm – which I think is reasonable.
“Also, there won’t be a mass exodus. It wouldn’t be like 11pm and everybody’s out the door like a pub. People will drift away, and I see there being maybe 20, 30 people left at the end of the evening.”
However, this didn’t quash EP’s noise concerns, saying the particular architecture of the area amplifies any noise, from normal conversations to loud sounds – prompting complaints from neighbours that Escape Experience will be adding to that.
They called for Mr Lumley to produce a robust management plan on how he will deal with any noise complaints or issues that will arise from residents and commission a professional noise assessment by an acoustics consultancy.
Mr Lumley said he has engaged ‘mask to mask’ as well as speaking to residents via social media on this, alleviating their worries – which is why there were no residential objections to the application.
Members of the licensing panel sub-committee decided to grant the Windsor businessman a new premises license on the following conditions:
Councillors granted Mr Lumley his original request of serving alcohol until 10pm and closing the premises at 11pm.
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