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Community anger over noise from Mia shisha bar in Swiss Cottage

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 August 2012

Mia Lounge

Mia Lounge

Archant

A shisha bar that plays loud music late into the night has left residents unwilling to speak out after allegedly launching "humiliating personal attacks" at one person who complained.

A shisha bar that plays loud music late into the night has left residents unwilling to speak out after allegedly launching “humiliating personal attacks” at one person who complained.

Mia Lounge restaurant opened in Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage, in March this year and sells alcohol until 2am. But residents say they cannot open their windows because of constant noise from the smoking garden, which faces onto the square behind Hampstead Theatre and from drunk customers who spill out onto the pavement when it closes at 2.45am.

A resident said she felt threatened by letters sent to her by the restaurant’s solicitors after she complained about the noise and has asked to remain anonymous for fear of a reoccurrence.

She said: “I’ve been in state of absolute terror because of the humiliating accusations these men made about me. It was all very frightening.

“They said quite shocking things that were a personal attack. They refused to acknowledge that it’s the community here that’s been disturbed.

“The area here is family oriented. The people who live in these houses have to sleep at night so they can get up and go to work and the children have to get enough sleep so they can go to school.

“This is being impeded by the restaurant’s ambition to make this a nightlife hot spot.”

Thomas and Thomas Solicitors, a top ranked licensing firm, who have been representing the restaurant since it opened, said they have only been aware of one complaint.

Thomas O’Maoileoin from the law-firm said: “We’ve spoken to the ward councillor who has agreed that we can have a meeting with the resident to discuss our differences.

‘‘We hope to continue to work in partnership with the residents.

‘‘We’ve already written to the person saying that if any letter was in anyway construed as threatening or intimidating we’ve offered an unreserved apology.”

Jeanine Bojang, who lives in a flat which faces Mia Lounge, said her three children are kept up at night by noise seven days a week.

“There are 23 flats and everyone has children and they deserve a good night’s sleep,” she said. “We deserve peace and quiet in our own homes.

“If they could close the outdoor space at 8pm that would be fine, but the noise goes on until 2.30am.

“In the last few months it’s been extra hard because we can’t have the windows open, but you can even hear it through closed windows.”

Cllr Roger Freeman, who represents Swiss Cottage ward on Camden Council supports a license review following the complaints.

He said: “There’s been considerable disturbance caused to local residents..’’

“We’re going to be having discussions with Mia and the Camden enforcement team and we will look at eventual options for a license review.”

Camden council have received complaints from two residents about the noise in the restaurants.

Council leader Sarah Hayward said: “We take complaints of this nature seriously and officers will visit a licensed premises if a noise complaint is made.

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