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Residents' outcry over new restaurant

PUBLISHED: 16:33 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 07 September 2010

PLANS for a new venue for 750 diners in the heart of Camden Town are causing a furore among residents. Shaka Zulu, described as an African dining and theatre experience, is set to open up beneath the Gilgamesh bar in Camden Market. Plans were presented to

PLANS for a new venue for 750 diners in the heart of Camden Town are causing a furore among residents.

Shaka Zulu, described as an African dining and theatre experience, is set to open up beneath the Gilgamesh bar in Camden Market.

Plans were presented to Camden's business and community groups on Thursday but the Ham&High was not invited and had to leave the meeting at Castlehaven Community Centre.

Eleanor Botwright, director of the Castlehaven Community Centre, summed up residents' concerns. She said: "We were very alarmed that the capacity would be up to 740 people for a theatre dining experience where there would be two shows a night. That means up to 1,500 people would be arriving every night."

Ms Botwright said residents also had concerns about the extra demand on parking in the area and on Camden Town Tube station which already struggles to cope with the number of passengers.

"It's all very worrying," said Ms Botwright. "Nobody is really clear what they are doing there."

Ms Botwright confirmed the residents will be objecting when Shaka Zulu applies for its alcohol and entertainment licence.

Simon Pitkeathley, chief executive of Camden Town Unlimited, was also at the meeting of the community forum. He said: "It is a huge space down there and looks like it was built for a nightclub so from the residents' perspective, the fact that it will be a dining experience is a move in the right direction. It will be another unique experience for Camden Town."

Roger Payne, CEO and operator of Shaka Zulu said: "We have embraced the local community from the very outset, have opened discussions and offered complete transparency to address any concerns our important neighbours may have at this planning stage.

"With regard to late-night noise and the additional footfall and parking limitations within the area we will employ strict stewarding for dispersal.

"Our highly interactive booking and reservations service will be very clear on directing customers to available parking, without limiting the local residents' parking availability any further.

"We will do everything within our power to be an exemplary operator within Stables Market.


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