Verwood restaurant noise issues still not resolved
RESIDENTS of Woodlands, near Verwood, were disappointed on Tuesday to hear councillors defer a planning application to 'regularise' the operation of a roadside Indian and Bengali restaurant in their village which has blighted their lives since a change of ownership last July.
They had listened approvingly to a number of members of East Dorset District Council's planning committee declare their opposition to the officer recommended approval of the application by Zaina Zahra Ltd to allow Cinnamon Lounge in Verwood Road to, amongst other things, the extension of permitted opening hours and construction of a floodlit open air decking area at the front of the premises.
But a suggested further amendment to those opening hours, together with concerns expressed about an unauthorised covered storage area at the side of the building, prompted the move for deferral so that the issues raised could be considered in further detail and consulted upon.
The committee heard that the restaurant, which had operated in harmony with the local community since 2004, had since the change of ownership been the source of noise and other nuisances which had become the subject of an enforcement investigation by the planning authority.
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The outcome was the application which sought to control its use and be acceptable to all parties by officially extending its weekday operating hours by two hours and imposing conditions restricting noise and use of the outdoor decking area.
But Mark Hall, speaking for himself and other Woodlands residents, asked: "Why are the conditions imposed in 2004 no longer good enough? The new owner has caused real upset by completely ignoring them, with extended opening hours, loud live music until the early hours, and using the car park outside as a disco area, and residents have to listen to often profane language, have their sleep broken, and been condemned to a life under siege. Should you be rewarding non-compliance?"
Councillor Derek Burt said: "Residents have been subjected to quite a bit of disturbance, and I don't see why the original conditions adhered to in the past but completely ignored by the new occupiers, should be changed.
My sympathies are entirely with the local residents."
Councillor Mrs Jean Hazel agreed that the owner had taken a "totally cavalier attitude to the situation" and that granting the application would just "give him the licence he wants to carry on".
"This isn't in a big town, but right in the middle of a rural area," she said.
Councillor Toni Coombs felt there could be room for further compromise, and proposed opening hours to 11pm only, and use of the outdoor decking area until no later than 6pm.
But it was agreed, at Councillor Spencer Flower's suggestion, that a decision should be deferred to allow consultation with the owner and with residents, as well as consideration of other outstanding issues.
Councillor Flower said: "If there have been changes to the dynamics of the business they should be taken into account."