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Cocktail bar says public urination from previous pub won’t happen here

A new cocktail bar and restaurant in Lozells wants ‘a chance’ to distance itself from incidents of public urination and fights relating to the previous premises.

Managers at new restaurant Nyam and Jam in Barker Street have applied to serve alcohol from the site of the former Observatory pub.

The previous premises lost its licence last year following complaints from neighbours about anti-social behaviour.

READ MORE:‘Fights on a daily basis’ fears over plans for new restaurant at former Lozells pub

But the licensing application has been opposed by more than 270 people who have signed a petition against a new venue opening at the site, as well as ward councillor Cllr Waseem Zaffar (Lab, Lozells).

Cllr Zaffar alleged in his letter to the council previous problems included “illegal parking, people drinking and urinating in their front gardens and side entrances to the properties, rows and fights on a daily basis”.

He and others opposing the application said these would be brought back if the licence is granted for alcohol to be served from 12 noon until 11pm.

West Midlands Police has also said “the issues that led to the revocation would be replicated” if the new restaurant and cocktail bar goes ahead.

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There had previously been a stabbing outside the venue and a suspected “petrol bomb” thrown, the licensing meeting last year heard.

A licensing sub-committee hearing was held yesterday (Sept 7) during which it was heard the new restaurant would cater for up to 30 to 35 seated customers.

Licensing consultant Robert Edge told councillors on the sub-committee: “The premises operated previously as a public house and was the blight of the neighbourhood.

“The new owner has taken over the lease and carried out extensive refurbishment internally.

READ MORE : Lozells residents fear ‘urinating drunkards’ if licence approved at former ‘hellish’ pub

“They wish to distance themselves from anything that has gone on before and have therefore decided to open as a restaurant/cocktail bar.

“This is not a public house with people standing in the bar as they would do in a vertical drinking establishment.

“This is a new application and has no relationship to anything that has gone before. It must be judged on its own merit and how it performs in the future – not on the history of the previous owner.”

Laverne Sowe, the applicant, said: “I’ve heard many stories of the problems from when it was a public house and I can say I have no intention of doing anything which will harm my reputation.

“I am very strict in following all the rules and doing things according to the law.

“I have taken over the lease for this premises and have invested lots of time, money and passion in preparing this as a restaurant and cocktail bar that will be an asset to the local community.”

READ MORE:Lozells pub loses licence following stabbing, ‘petrol bomb’ and years of complaints

She later said: “I’ve not even started trading and I’ve been told it’s going to be the same thing of what it used to be before.

“You have to give me a chance and then if I messed up, I am hold my hand up but I have not even started trading and I’ve been painted with a brush from the previous owner.”

Objecting to the application, Mark Swallow of West Midlands Police said: “I do not make any link between the applicant and the persons that ran the previous premises.

“I do not seek to link the issues that were attributed to the previous management of the premises to this applicant.

“However, some of the issues that were pointed out are generic to the presence of a licensed premises at that location which if this premises were located there would again be an issue.

“Should the licence be granted, I believe nuisance in the form of noise and parking will be to the detriment to the local community.

“The premises being at the location may also attract crime and disorder as previously with potential for vehicle crime and for theft.

“There have also previously been persons dealing drugs who have been attracted to that locality due to there being a market because persons attend those premises and then they are potential customers for drug dealers.”

READ MORE:Fake wines and shisha parties – 10 Birmingham shops or venues stripped of their licence

Cllr Zaffar praised the work of the previous landlord of the venue but said: “I am of the opinion that these premises are unsuitable for any form of application.

“I would be surprised if there was a planning application submitted for these sort of licensed premises in the middle of a residential area as this is, [it] would be granted today.”

“I have had constituents telling me they would often have customers of these premises literally in their front gardens and at times some of them were even urinating in people’s private gardens.

“Since the licensing committee revoked the licence on these premises, the one thing I hear from those constituents of mine is they have some level of peace back.”

The meeting also heard objections from a representative for the South Road Housing Co-operative – who previously opposed the Observatory – and resident Mohammed Ali.

The sub-committee – consisting of chair Cllr Diane Donaldson (Lab, Bromford and Hodge Hill) as well as Cllr Mary Locke (Lab, Stirchley) and Cllr Mike Sharpe (Lab, Pype Hayes) – will give its decision within five working days.

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