Cocktail bar’s late licence try runs into heavy objections

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NEIGHBOURS of an “ultra modern and stylish” cocktail bar in Sheffield are objecting to an application for it to open until 12.30am for a further six months.

Studio 557, in Ecclesall Road, opened in April last year in the first-floor premises near Hunters Bar that was formerly occupied by the Walnut Club.

At that time, the premises had a temporary licence enabling its opening hours to be extended from 11.30pm until 12.30am for six months.

The bar, which is currently open from 5.30pm until 12.30am on Fridays and from 12.30pm until 12.30am on Saturdays, has now applied to retain these opening hours for another six months.

However, the application has met with several objections from neighbours, who say revellers “stand outside the premises in groups, smoking and creating noise and disturbance.”

Other objectors claim that the owner “has been opening on a limited basis in order to limit the amount of data available to the planning authority” and say “scantily-clad girls are apparent on the street, enticing customers into the venue.”

This latest row comes after a long-running battle over opening times in Ecclesall Road.

Prior to applying for planning permission for the Walnut Club in 2006, the previous owner requested a closing time of 2am but was told by city planners that such closing times were “not considered acceptable in this location.”

The previous owner was then advised to look for different premises away from residential areas, but chose to stick with the Ecclesall Road location and a closing time of 11.30pm.

In November 2008 a further application for planning permission permitting the Walnut Club to open until 2am was refused.

“The original condition and its reinforcement would have been apparent to the current owner upon purchase”, say planning officials at Sheffield Council.

Other bars and restaurants in the area, such as Felicini, La Tasca, Nonna’s, and the Porter Brook, have opening times restricted to 11.30pm, although several planning applications have been submitted in an attempt to extend these hours.

La Tasca was refused a closing time of midnight in January 2007; the Porter Brook was refused a closing time of 1am on Fridays and Saturdays in February 2008 and an application to open Nonna’s until 1.30am six nights of the week was also refused.

Both the Porter Brook and Nonna’s decisions were appealed, but then turned down again by planning inspectors.

A total of 18 letters of objection have been submitted in relation to Studio 557’s application. These include representations from the Botanical Area Community Association and the Endcliffe Corner Community Association.

A spokesman for the Botanical Area Community Association said: “The club’s clientele has only built up in the last two months, but there are already complaints from residents with regard to Friday and Saturday night opening.

“Residents experience noise nuisance created by people returning to their cars and driving away, and taxis waiting for customers.

“The resultant disturbance is a problem for all, but most notably those local residents who need to work early shifts.”

City planners have now advised councillors that the application should be refused at a meeting of Sheffield Council’s planning committee on Monday, January 16.

In the report set to go before that meeting, the planners say: “All other food and drink outlets, whilst they may differ operationally from Studio 557, have been restricted to closing hours of 11.30pm in the interests of residential amenity.

“It is felt that the original restrictions placed on the 2006 permission should remain, these being consistent with decisions on other premises nearby.”

Nobody from Studio 557 was available to comment on their application yesterday.