‘Betty’ owner’s application for expanded alfresco dining meets resistance

Image above: Foot and drink outside Betty in Barley Mow Passage

The owner of Betty, the restaurant-bar in Barley Mow Passage, is again meeting resistance to an application to extend the operating terms of his business.

Steve Novak, who opened Betty in August 2021, has applied to LB Hounslow for a temporary street trading licence so he can place tables, chairs and two ‘A’ boards in Barley Mow Passage, the alley-way outside the restaurant, to allow for expanded alfresco dining and drinking.

He owns several restaurants in different parts of London and although Betty has done ‘OK’ since it opened, it is not doing as well as he expected it would, so he wants to take advantage of the pedestrianised alleyway outside the premises to offer the attraction of al fresco dining in the summer months.

Barley Mow Passage has been pedestrianised in the evenings since 2011, when Sam Harrison applied and was granted the right to put tables outside what was then Sam’s Brasserie. It is closed to vehicles from 6.30pm – 10pm, Monday to Saturday.

If approved, the current restaurant Betty would have tables and chairs outside Monday to Friday from 6.00pm to 10.00pm and Saturday to Sunday from 10.00am to 10.00pm. The ‘A’ boards would be positioned outside the premises on the pavement Monday to Sunday from 11.00am to 11.00pm.

Standard Conditions allow a maximum width of any licensed area ‘which shall not exceed one third of the useable width of the footpath.’

Images above: Barley Mow Passage

Betty offers ‘casual dining’ – sharing platters and traditional pub standards, with a range of beers and cocktails and an extensive wine list. The premises also has a lively bar and hosts regular weekend events, which last year included a Halloween fancy dress party and a number of ‘December Discos’.

Since they opened last year, Steve has positioned Betty to attract a younger crowd. He applied to extend the hours in which he can sell alcohol and provide recorded music from 11.30pm to 1.00am on Friday and Saturday nights, but had his application rejected after various objections from local residents. Instead he was granted an extension until midnight.

Image above: Betty’s plan for outside tables

Residents complain about potential for noise

Some of those who objected to Mr Novak’s previous application have again raised their concerns about the new proposals.

Margaret Chadderton objected on grounds of ‘public nuisance and protection of children from harm’. She objected to Sam Harrison’s application for street trading eleven years ago as well.

She said:

“We are concerned about the noise from this al fresco dining, particularly as Betty’s plays music and the noise would inevitably spill out of the restaurant as waiters moved in and out.

“Added to the noise of the customers this would affect our flats with windows open in the summer. We have babies and children in these flats who need their sleep. Being narrow, the noise in Barley Mow passage is intensified. It is not a suitable place for outside dining with so many residents in the area.”

Orchestrated campaign

Among the nine objections, several people used exactly the same wording in their complaint.

Rahim Dadani and Sohail Janjuha, owner/franchisee of Winkworth Chiswick, are among those who objected on grounds of public nuisance and public safety. They said granting the licence would “adversely affect the nearby residents and businesses”.

They argue that their parking would be heavily restricted by the changes and say they fear Mr Novak will apply for another licence to extend the outdoor license’s timings, which would “completely [negate] the rights of access of all his neighbours”.

When we talked to Steve Novak about the application he said other local businesses had been granted licences which allowed for alfresco dining in the past and he saw no reason why his application should not be granted now.

“The area I’m wishing to occupy is pedestrianised at the times I wish to occupy it… Some of the objections within the pub opposite that has tables and chairs in the same area… I find some of those objections somewhat disingenuous.”

He also said some of the objectors did not live anywhere near the restaurant and suggested several representations had been written from a template, bearing the mark of an organised campaign.

“Other objections are from people who live far afield, I’m unsure as to how they even know about the application.”

Image above: Betty owner – Steve Novak

A Hounslow licensing panel will decide whether to grant the application, refuse it or grant in part or with changes on Thursday 19 May.

Cllr Joanna BIddolph has written to the panel saying:

“I understand that there has been no change in relationships with neighbours and I’m concerned that this means all applications from Betty will result in strong objections, making this significant location a permanent concern.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Betty application for 1am weekend licence turned down

See also: LB Hounslow investigating “environmental mess” at Dukes Meadows

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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