BEING DECIDED: Application for 1920’s style bar on Diamond Strip
Plans for a bar at the proposed Metropolitan Hotel in Newcastle's Collingwood Street, Image: High Street Group
A verdict on whether a new 1920s-themed bar and restaurant can open on Newcastle’s Diamond Strip is being decided after being pushed back by three months.
Councillors were due to decide in August whether to approve plans for the Boardwalk venue in Collingwood Street.
The proposals come after developers were forced to press pause on bigger designs to transform the disused Metropolitan House into the multi-million pound Metropolitan Hotel, with the impact of Covid-19 meaning that major renovation is not expected to happen until 2023.
In the mean time the bar has asked for a licence to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises every day between 10am and midnight a to play live and recorded music between 10am and 12.30am.
Newcastle Council had previously confirmed that the rescheduling was requested by developer, The High Street Group, to “allow further discussions with objectors to assuage any concerns”,
The plans were finally heard by the authority’s licensing sub-committee on Tuesday.
Representing the applicant licensing solicitor Matt Foster said the scheme would improve the area. ”
He said: “Staff employed at the premises will have acting and performance experience and this is to deliver an authentic 1920’s theme with character performances to add a bit of fun and excitement.
“Drinks will be high end. The premises will promote high quality cuisine, beverages and entertainment coordinated by the staff.
“We’re looking to encourage a lounge environment where food is available from opening to 9pm everyday.
“We have a lot of conditions which point to us being a restaurant orientated premises.”
Mr Foster said that 70% of the public area would be given over to seating.
He continued: “In terms of seating there will be a minimum of 71 seats available in the ground floor of the premises at any one given time.
“This isn’t a vertical drinking establishment, we’re not a standing venue, we’ve very carefully conditioned how the premises will operate.
“We believe that this plan fits in with the council’s desire to see quality venues in the city rather than stagnation.
“It is the kind of high-end venue you would find in Grey Street or the NE! refurbished Bigg Market.
“This application represents the start of a major investment for the One Collection Group.”
Jonathan Bryce, head of the city council’s licensing department, said there is already a “high concentration” of bars in the area.
He said: “The 200m approximately of Collingwood Street sees a very high concentration of licensed premises.
“The area can be regarded as one of high density on licensed premises with many vertical drinking locations among them.
“It may be argued that the area is already is already at a saturation point as far as licensed premises are concerned.
“This area of the city is identified as one of cumulative impact and special stress of which the council’s policy two applies.
“Special policy two in short requires the applicant to demonstrate not only measures that will prevent any adverse impact on the licensing objectives it must also demonstrate exceptionality and highlight the uniqueness of the offering.
“I have read the application in detail which describes the operating style as ‘restuarant bar’.
“The last three hours of permitted alcohol sale is in the absence of food provision. ”
The firm has pledged “high quality cuisine,” fine wines, and cocktails at the Boardwalk venue, saying it would even hire staff with acting experience to help deliver an authentic 1920s atmosphere.
Newcastle Council is expected to publish the licensing sub-committee’s decision with in the next week.
Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter
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