Marylebone shisha caf� set to lose late opening bid

Council says the application would “harm life for nearby residents”

A shisha caf� which has found itself at the centre of ongoing battles with neighbours looks set to lose its bid to stay open into the early hours.

Nearby residents have been in regular conflict with Number One Church Street after the caf� opened two years ago.

Complaints have been made regarding smoke and noise nuisance caused by the caf�, which was served with a breach of condition notice for staying open too late earlier this year.

Now Westminster Council is set to put a halt to plans for the caf� to extend its opening hours from 11pm to midnight on weekdays and 1am on weekends, and also double the number of chairs on the outside terrace.

A caf� employee, who didn’t want to be named, said: “With shisha customers they tend to come a bit late in the evening so we just want to cater for them.

“We don’t play any music and it’s not a pub where people are getting drunk.

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“Our customers are quiet people who come, smoke a bit of shisha and leave. The cars passing by make more noise than us.

“If the issue is about the smell, you have fish being sold in the market, which you can smell all the way in Marylebone.”

In support of its application the caf� submitted a 300-signature petition, stating that the caf� is “well valued by the local community”.

However, the application has also received formal objections from Church Street Cllr Barbara Grahame, the St Marylebone Society, Church Street Planning and Licensing Group, and the Metropolitan Police Licensing Team.

Alan Stirling, who lives next door to the caf�, has campaigned against it and set up a website to document the problems with it.

He said: “I don’t smoke and I hate the smell.

“From about three in the afternoon it just hangs around the whole neighbourhood and I don’t see why I should put up with it.

“I can cope with them being open until 11pm as a compromise. But later than that is when people go to bed.

“Everything around here is closed after about 10pm, but they are trying to build a late night business in the wrong place.”

Recommending the application for refusal, council officers state an extension of opening hours would “harm the living conditions of nearby residents”.