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Tinseltown milkshake bar’s hours cut after six-year battle with residents

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 July 2012

Tinseltown in Heath Street

Tinseltown in Heath Street

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A controversial milkshake bar in Hampstead has had its late-night hours slashed after a six-year battle with nearby residents bubbled over at the town hall.

The long-running saga finally came to a head on Tuesday (July 18) during a three-hour hearing at which residents claimed American-style diner Tinseltown had blighted their lives and forced some to move out.

Residents claimed unruly customers threatened violence, left a trail of litter, flouted parking restrictions and woke children up in the early hours, with customers being served until 3am.

A Camden Council licensing officer said he was “astonished” at the time and money committed to monitoring the burger bar in Heath Street.

The council has received 112 complaints about Tinseltown over the years and has trained a CCTV camera on the site at a cost of £80,000.

Although an application from two Hampstead Town councillors – backed by residents from New End and a council official – to close the milkshake bar for good was deemed a “step too far”, campaigners said the ruling to cut its hours was a step in the right direction.

Tinseltown will be allowed to serve snacks until midnight from Sunday to Thursday and until 1am on Friday and Saturday.

The milkshake bar has also been banned from selling takeaway food after 11pm and ordered to employ door staff after 11pm.

Harmen van den Hondel, who claims to have been assaulted twice by Tinseltown customers near his home in New End, warned the licensing panel that it was only a question of time until someone “got a knife between the ribs” if Tinseltown was allowed to continue trading.

“This ruling sends a signal that Camden is listening to what the residents have to say and it is a step in the right direction,” said the father-of-three.

“We’ll have to wait and see how it works out. I’m positive but we were hoping for more and it is still my opinion that they should not be licensed to operate that late because there is a clear link to all these problems.”

Cllr Kirsty Roberts, who gathered together a dossier of evidence to present to the panel, said: “I very much hope that the owner takes on board the seriousness of this decision and realises the impact he has on other people’s lives. It shows that he cannot be so dismissive of the people that live nearby.”

Managing director of Tinseltown, Suhail Hasan, is considering appealing the decision.

A spokesman for the company said: “We have spoken to our legal advisors who note some glaring legal issues with some elements of the steps the committee has imposed.

“However hopefully those areas will be rectified when the written decision is sent to us, should we need to appeal.”

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