A businessman who has converted a former bank into a restaurant has been granted a premises licence to sell alcohol and remain open past midnight at weekends.

Former banker and owner Mark Foster, 40, of The Manor House in High Street, Wanstead, spent five hours finding out the conditions of his licence at a licensing sub-committee meeting at Redbridge Town Hall today. 

After hours of consultation and deliberation, Mr Foster said it was a "measured result".
Mr Foster has been granted permission to sell alcohol and play music until 11:30pm during weekdays and 12:30am on Friday and Saturdays.

The premise is allowed to remain open to the public until midnight on weekdays and 1am on weekends.

He said: "Today was a really big step for the business and the committee has given us conditions we can operate within so on our part it was not a bad outcome.

"It was a very thorough process and was a considered decision having listened from all parties."

The application was previously scrutinised by councillor Chris Cummins and his Snaresbrook ward Conservative councillors, after claiming a late licence would cause disturbance. 

He said: "There is a concern that people will leave the premises late at night and cause a real disturbance for residents of nearby flats.

"1.15am is too late. I don’t see any reason to extend into the early hours of the morning."

The former Allied Irish Bank and Conservative Club had been visited by some of Britain’s leading politicians including Sir Winston Churchill. 

Mr Foster said converting the 17th century listed building was "not an easy project".

"It has taken us a year to get to where we are.

“We've had to remove bullet-proof glass and tons of security and alarm equipment to transform it into a gastro pub."

Prior to Mr Foster purchasing the High Street premise which he describes as a coffee house and pub with dining rooms, it had been empty since December 2012.