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Ascot Rocksalt Roof Garden owner considers appeal against licence refusal

Published: 10 Jun 2013 08:301 comment

THE owner of a champagne and caviar bar due to open in Ascot High Street is considering an appeal against the Royal Borough's refusal to extend its opening hours.

An image of how the Rocksalt Bar might look

Rocksalt Roof Garden applied successfully to open a bar and shop in a two-storey premises, which previously housed the off licence Wine Rack, at 55 High Street.

But planners refused to vary the licence to open until 1.30am seven days a week and to allow its retail element to revert to being used as a bar after 5pm. Its request to open until 3am on 11 days a year was also turned down. Councillors agreed that a "sufficient amount of retail" should be retained on the ground floor, to "protect the vitality and viability of Ascot High Street".

Simon Hurrell, head of planning and property services at the Royal Borough said: "The very fact that the applicant will be using this 'retail' area after 5pm as a bar raises considerable doubt over the fact that this space will actually be set out and function as a retail area.

"If the area was actually set out as a dedicated retail space and had a shop counter and retail display, then it would be difficult to use this retail space as a wine bar area during the evening."

Bar bosses had applied to stay open until 1.30am every night, but planners only allowed this for Saturdays and for a temporary six-month period.

The shop will sell high value art, glassware, champagne, wine and cigars, along with premium coffee, fine teas and food on one floor, with the core business as a champagne and caviar bar, selling cocktails. Bar owner, Baron Terence Alvis of Lee, said: "We are trying to open a champagne and caviar bar with a restaurant and café. We are also licensed for off licensing but we will retail other items. It's an opportunity to expand our portfolio. We are probably going to be employing 20 to 30 people."

Baron Lee said he applied to be allowed to open the bar until 1.30am every night, in parity with other bars in the area and also to offer consistency for his customers.

"There is also concern that guests exiting the bar might cause some noise and disruption further up in Course Road," he added. "We will put cameras at the end of Course Road. We will also put a member of staff there after 11.30pm.

"There is 3am licensing at other establishments. When it comes to people booking parties, they are going to go with whoever has the later licensing.

"I'm frustrated. There has to be a degree of common sense."

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