Fears Expressed at pizza chain’s alcohol ambition

AN APPLICATION by Pizza Express to serve alcohol without food and play live music has sparked fears among residents that it will be turned into a jazz bar

Charlotte Newton

AN APPLICATION by Pizza Express to serve alcohol without food and play live music has sparked fears among residents that it will be turned into a jazz bar.

The pizzeria chain in Muswell Hill Broadway has submitted a planning application to Haringey Council, which would allow them to serve alcohol to customers even if they are not eating.

It has asked for permission to allow customers to sit at tables on the pavement outside.

The restaurant also wants to play live music from 10am to midnight Monday to Friday, 11am to midnight on Saturdays and midday to 11.30pm on Sundays.

But the application has caused confusion among residents and the police.

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John Hajdu, chairman of the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, said: "It's a worrying precedent if Pizza Express starts allowing people to drink alcohol without eating anything because it will change the whole character of the restaurant. It could lead to anti-social behaviour later in the evening because it's near the roundabout where all the nightclubs are."

Sgt Paul Saunders, of the Muswell Hill Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: "We've checked with Pizza Express and the alcohol licence is for people to have a drink while they are waiting for their takeaway.

"Our main concern is the restaurant's plans to put tables and chairs outside on the pavement.

"It's a busy thoroughfare so we've specified to the council that we would like all the tables to be removed by 10.30pm."

A spokeswoman for Pizza Express confirmed that the restaurant had made the planning application to enable takeaway customers to have a drink while they wait for their order.

She added: "There are no plans to put a bar in the restaurant. And our application for a licence to play live music has come around due to a change in the law.

"We're applying for it so we can keep on doing what we've been doing for years in this restaurant - hold music nights once every six weeks, between 7-10.30pm, as great background music to eat pizza to."

People who work and live in the vicinity of the premises, as well as the police, fire brigade and planning and building control, and health and safety departments, can object to the licensing application.

The closing date for objections is next Wednesday (March 5).

broadway@hamhigh.co.uk

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