'Upset is an understatement': Angry villagers fighting restaurant's plans to open yards from country park over late night noise fears

Residents are fighting a restaurant’s plans to start trading close to one of Wakefield’s most popular beauty spots.

Popular beauty spot Newmillerdam Country Park in Wakefield.

Capri is trying to open an Italian diner on Barnsley Road in Newmillerdam, just yards from the country park of the same name.

Residents want to convert an empty listed building, The Old Corn Mill, to create the new venue.

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But neighbours are angry about Capri’s planning application for the venture, as well as their bid for alcohol and music licences.

The outcomes of both have yet to be decided, despite the planning application first being submitted nearly two years ago.

A licensing hearing now scheduled for October 18 however, may offer a clue as to whether or not the diner can go ahead.

Capri already has two branches elsewhere in Wakefield, on Leeds Road and in Horbury Bridge.

In an objection registered with Wakefield Council ahead of the hearing, resident Peter Letts said the plan “fills us with dread and nervous anticipation”.

He said: “To say that the neighbours and ourselves are continually upset about the prospect of the restaurant/bar is an understatement.

He added: “This premises license application is confirming the fact it seems that our lives will now be embroiled in a permanent battle with the Capri Group.”

Fellow resident David Parr said: “Newmillerdam is a conservation village which has already a number of outlets which provide music, food and drink.

He added that the area is already “Subject to late night revellers disturbing the peaceful nature of the area.”

Objectors also made reference to Capri’s breaking of lockdown rules at its restaurant on Leeds Road in Wakefield in May 2020.

The diner was given an on-the-spot fine for holding an outdoor party at the premises, and it had its alcohol licence suspended for three months.

Councillors later said they were “appalled” by the incident, which prompted Capri’s owner to offer a “full, sincere and heartfelt apology.”

In its licensing application, Capri said it will ensure all noise from the Newmillerdam venue will be inaudible inside nearby homes, and that notices will be put up urging customers to be quiet as they leave.

In their planning application, the company’s representatives said that 32 new jobs could be created by opening the restaurant and that developing the area “will enhance the conservation area”.

They added: “The proposed development would make a major contribution to Newmillerdam by securing employment and utilising existing local facilities.”