Newmillerdam Country Park: £1.6m Italian diner to open in listed building just yards away from popular beauty spot

Contentious plans for a new Italian diner just yards from a popular beauty spot have been approved.

Capri are set to open a restaurant within the empty Old Corn Mill building on Barnsley Road in Newmillerdam, close to the village’s country park.

The restaurant’s owner Mohamed Karimi was given a premise licence for the venture at a hearing on Monday, having been separately granted planning permission for the development last week.

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But neighbours who’d objected to the plans have claimed a victory of sorts, as the restaurant will have to call last orders 90 minutes earlier than they had wanted.

The site of the new Italian diner in Newmillerdam

Capri, which already has three local branches, also withdrew its applications for music licences and for permission to serve food after 11pm.

Capri’s solicitor Paddy Whur said Mr Karimi planned to invest £1.6m in doing up the listed building and that the new diner would create 42 jobs for the area.

Speaking at the licensing hearing, he said: “Mr Karimi is a very experienced restauranteur who has traded in Wakefield for many years with success. He takes his responsibilities seriously and wants to run this premises in what is a fabulous location.

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“He wants to appeal to people living near it and he wants to create something really rather special for the area.”

Planning permission for the building to be converted was formally granted last week by Wakefield Council, with conditions attached that it stop serving alcohol at 10pm.

Mr Whur said that condition would be appealed, and asked for the licensing panel to separately grant a licence that would allow them to serve until 12.30am.

He said if service was to stop at 10pm it would have a “significant financial impact” on the business and was not “in line” with its other branches on Leeds Road in Wakefield, Horbury Bridge or Mirfield.

But neighbour Peter Letts told the hearing that Newmillerdam residents were already suffering from excessive noise, “engine revving” and criminal behaviour late at night.

Mr Letts, one of 11 objectors to attend the hearing, said: “We’ve been fighting this development for over a year-and-a-half now. One of the reasons we’ve been doing so is that our little village already has seven establishments selling alcohol and food.

“We don’t want any more. There’s senior citizens that live only 50 feet away from the premises who haven’t slept for months, because they’re panicking about another place that will be able to sell alcohol until midnight and possibly after.”

Other objectors speaking at the meeting cited a lack of car parking at the site, which Capri says will host up to 160 customers.

The prospect of customers putting themselves in danger by crossing Barnsley Road late at night was also raised, but the panel of three councillors was told they couldn’t legally consider that point under licensing law.

The panel ruled that Capri could serve alcohol until 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays. The diner had already voluntarily agreed to stop service at 9.30pm on Sundays.

However, they will only be allowed to serve until 11pm if council planners reverse their separate decision to impose restrictions after 10pm.

Capri plans to open the new branch in May next year. Speaking afterwards, both Mr Karimi and Mr Letts said they would happily work together with each other ahead of the opening.