A controversial plan to turn the former Thing-Me-Bobs store in Newmarket High Street into a restaurant has been given the go-ahead by town councillors but they have objected to the licensing hours proposed for the venue.
Soham-based businessman Jack Shorney outlined his plan for the building at a meeting of Newmarket Town Council’s planning committee on Monday, when he told members that had no intention of turning it into a nightclub.
However Donna Woollard, speaking on behalf of the town’s night-time economy, said applications linked to the premises appeared contradictory and questioned why a restaurant would need to be licensed until 2.30am.
“We are of the opinion that this is not going to be a restaurant,” she told councillors.
Mr Shorney said he had revised his proposed licensing hours in the light of concerns raised but councillors had received them too late to consider and had to rule on the original application which they agreed to object to.
Cllr James Lay said: “When De Niro’s was open our High Street was a battleground. With no police on the street, is another drinking establishment open late what we really want for our town centre?”
Concerns were also raised that a proposed smoking area at the back of the premises would cause disturbance to residents of nearly flats. The change of use application and licensing hours will now have to be considered by district planners.