A neighbour who objected to a new restaurant’s application for a drinks licence said that she was concerned about increased noise.
Trainee teacher Jessica Burkhardt told a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel that when she moved into her flat she was not warned about the shop being turned into an eaterie.
The proposed steak restaurant, in East Street, Brighton, used to be a Cath Kidston home furnishing shop.
The new owner, Paragon Hospitality, wants to run it as a café and bar during the day and a steak restaurant serving British cuisine in the evenings.
Ms Burkhardt told the licensing panel at a virtual hearing that she “never signed up” to live in the middle of a restaurant and live music venue.
She moved into the flat last August and found out about the restaurant plans in November. But, she said, she was shocked to learn that the changes had been planned since December 2017.
Mss Burkhardt said that she had taken refuge in her university library to escape from the building noise.
She said: “I would be sandwiched between what goes on below me and the stipulated rooftop terrace.
“I am a key worker. I get up early to go to school to teach children in very difficult circumstances.
“This is making my life very difficult.”
Mss Burkhardt told the hearing today (Thursday 21 January) that there was currently no roof terrace and she was not certain how people would reach the roof.
The only aware flight of stairs with access to the roof that she was aware of was the one to her and her neighbour’s flat.
Paragon’s managing partner Adam Elliott said that he believed that the freeholder, Baron Homes, had planning permission for a roof terrace.
There did not appear to be any record of it on the council’s website.
He said that there were no plans for live music on the roof as there was not enough space. He said that the terrace was for people who wanted to stay on with their drinks and small plates rather than full dining.
Mr Elliott said: “In real terms, the only people that are using the terrace will be already in the restaurant area. We do not see it as an additional seating area.
“People can go up to the terrace as an additional area. It is not a major full-blown terrace but a place to sit at. We want people to have a substantial meal and eat in the main building.”
Paragon’s licensing consultant Stewart Gibson said that the venue would have sound insulation to keep noise to a minimum.
He said: “These premises functions as a restaurant, not a live music venue. If you had live music dominating the room, you would have a very empty restaurant.
“It would not be conducive to sitting down at a high-class dining experience, which would be ruined by deafening music.”
Mr Gibson said that the company was not trying to open a bar by the back door and that substantial food would be available at all times.
He offered to accept a condition that would limit trading until environmental health officers had approved sound levels.
Mr Elliott and his business partner, chef Barry Vine, agreed to limit amplified music after 11pm to once a week.
Green councillor Lizzie Deane asked about illustrations in the marketing material that she said she presumed showed what people might expect.
She said: “Although it is a restaurant, where you would expect people sitting down, having food and drink served to people seated at tables with food, there’s an awful lot of people standing up with drinks in their hands – a lot of vertical drinking in the picture and people milling around between the tables.
“It doesn’t give the impression of being restaurant-led.”
Mr Gibson said that the applicants accepted that one of the conditions would be no vertical drinking, that is, people would not be allowed to stand and drink at the venue.
Baron Homes was approached for comment about the proposed roof terrace but had not responded at the time of publication.