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Residents’ fears over cocktail bar scheme in Chester city centre

A COCKTAIL bar is back on the agenda despite fears it could impact on city centre residents.

Councillors on Cheshire West and Chester Council ignored the advice of its own officers by refusing planning permission to transform the former Aquavit restaurant in Watergate Street into a bar, fearing it would generate noise and disturbance.

But applicants Kuckoo Ops Chester Ltd won on appeal and are now seeking a licence to sell alcohol and for music and dancing until 2.30am.

Albert Rusling, a Watergate Row resident and owner of The Cartoon Gallery, who objected to allowing planning consent, wrote: “The problem of anti-social behaviour, fuelled by bars, has grown over recent years as the number of licences granted has increased.

“Rowdiness, shouting, swearing, fighting, drug taking, vomiting and urinating are regular occurrences.”

City centre councillor Samantha Dixon, who opposes Kuckoo Bar, said: “What would be the impact of another late night bar opening in Watergate Street on residents who live in a very narrow street?

“The view I get from residents is that it’s becoming intolerable for them.

“They have seen a lot of changes over the years.

“The police do a good job in handling what goes on in the city centre at the moment but you get to a point where enough is enough.”

A planning statement by the applicants states that the cocktail bar is consistent with council policies aimed at encouraging the development of cultural and arts facilities in the city centre. It would ‘enhance the vitality and viability of this location’.

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