A NEW bar and restaurant will open in Gunwharf Quays, after councillors ruled it would not lead to more noise and anti-social behaviour.
At a meeting on Wednesday Portsmouth councillors approved a licence for Cosy Club, a food and drink venue, to occupy the former site of the Water Margin opposite Spinnaker Tower.
The case was brought to the licensing sub-committee amid several objections that had been raised by residents of Gunwharf Quays who were concerned it would lead to increased disturbance when people left the venue after closing time - 1.30am on Thursday to Saturday and midnight on other nights.
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But it became clear that many of the objections were garnered due to a late-night licence application made around the same time for another new bar, The Alchemist, by the canal.
The council's principal licensing officer, Derek Stone, said: 'Eight days before Cosy Club submitted the application we had an application for another late night venue. That has since been withdrawn.
'Because of the interest in the first one I think residents became concerned about this. But this is of a completely different nature from the first site.'
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Loungers Ltd, agent Peter Rosser said: 'It's fair to see that there were some concerns focused on the potential of noise issues and anti-social behaviour. But many of these objections mention the premises The Alchemist not ours.
'I would add in my experience that Loungers venues moving into areas tends to have a calming effect rather than the opposite. They are for families to eat together.
'The fact is that this is an extremely well run and well organised group running this operation who do value the good will of local residents.
'The site is currently sitting there empty. The alternative is it remaining closed or having another operator moving in who may not have our same view on music and noise.'
He also confirmed that the venue would be a family-friendly eating establishment that did not play loud music or host live music events.
As stipulated in the licence the venue will stay open from 8am to midnight from Sunday to Wednesday and 8am to 1.30am on other days, with an extension until 2.30am on New Year's Eve.
Its bar staff will be able to serve alcohol between 10am to 11.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 1am Thursday to Saturday.
Loungers Ltd agreed to adhere to police conditions including installing CCTV, using a refusal log book and operating a Challenge 25 policy.
Work is due to begin on the site before Christmas and is expected to finish in the spring next year.