Green light for restaurant garden despite noise concerns

Chez Burton, Baldock was granted a new licence by North Herts Council

Chez Burton, Baldock was granted a new licence by North Herts Council - Credit: Google

A Baldock restaurant will be allowed to serve alcohol and food in a new garden area, despite neighbours claiming it could keep them up at night.

Chez Burton, in High Street, has been granted a premises licence after reassuring councillors it would not function as a beer garden and provide a fine dining experience.

North Herts Council will allow the restaurant to use the derelict space to serve customers, but councillors have said it must be closed and cleared by 10pm.

One objection submitted to the council said it was “totally inconsiderate and disrespectful” to propose, with the neighbour worrying about “rowdy groups of people having a few too many”.

However, Neill Burton, who owns the restaurant, said it was a bookings-only location for fine dining, which doesn’t sell draught beer, cheap spirits or offer meal deals, and was confident it would be respectful to neighbours.

The restaurant owner agreed to the curfew as a compromise in response to some of the objections and said he would ensure fences and low-level lighting would protect the privacy and amenity of those living nearby.

The licence will allow the restaurant to use the garden area any day of the week up until 10pm, although Mr Burton said the restaurant is currently only open four days a week,  and the garden would likely only be used two or three days a week.

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He said: “We’re not a for-profit business, we are a family-run restaurant, we are neighbours of other people and the principles of being a good neighbour as a family are no different to what Chez Burton wants.”

Mr Burton said he wanted to create a “quite and intimate extension” to the business, which would open during the summer months.

Objectors had raised concerns about the impact about late hours use of the site, and also whether the garden could be used during the day when people are working from home. There was also a concern that there could be a smell of smoke from the garden.

A decision to approve the proposals was made by the district council’s licensing sub-committee on April 8. In their decision, councillors said it had taken into account the objections but said its location was within a mixed-use area in High Street. Councillors also included a condition to guarantee there is separate access to the residential flat above the restaurant.

It said: “Having listened to all of the representations made during the course of the hearing, it was apparent to the sub-committee that the main concern expressed by the objectors was around the later end of the hours during which licensable activities could take place. It was therefore felt appropriate in order to promote the licensing objectives, particularly the prevention of crime and disorder and the prevention of public nuisance, that the hours should be reduced as outline above in relation to the outdoor area.

“On the matter of noise, the sub-committee were also mindful of the possibility of disturbance being caused by persons using the outdoor area. As the surrounding area is a high street and as such is mixed use in nature, it therefore felt it is appropriate to restrict the times of operation as previously outlined.”

The decision can be appealed by the applicant or objectors within 21 days of the decision.