Neighbours urged councillors not to allow a popular burger restaurant to stay open later in the evening.

Bim’s, in Ilford Lane, Ilford, asked the council’s licensing sub-committee for permission to stay open until midnight from Sunday to Thursday and 1am on Friday and Saturday at a meeting today (July 24).

People living nearby claim the fast-food restaurant has caused issues with littering, anti-social behaviour and public nuisance, which will get worse if it is permitted to open later.

They allege the restaurant has breached its current licence by staying open well into the evening, apparently until 4.30am on one occasion.

The owners, however, say they have complied with everything asked of them by the council’s enforcement team, including paying for a litter bin outside their shop.

'There's no community benefit'

One resident, Linda, told the owners at the meeting: “You are responsible for the issues that have been caused in this area for the local community.

“Having the late licence will encourage anti-social behaviour, littering and people playing music in their cars late at night.

“If you can’t handle those issues now, how are you going to handle it when you open later?”

Another resident, Eamonn, said that residents participating in voluntary litter-picks in the area had found packaging with the shop’s logo within a two-mile radius of the restaurant.

He said: “There’s no reason other than financial to request a late licence and there’s no community benefit.”

Read more: Ilford High Road off-licence plans to close after council decision

The council’s enforcement officer Priya Cheema told the committee: “We have issues with prostitution, violent crime, noise and nuisance from customers attending premises that have a late licence in the area.

“Due to the resources needed for Ilford Lane, it has meant that other areas of Redbridge have felt the impact.

“Allowing further premises to have a late licence is only going to have a detrimental impact on the area.

“I do not think it is fair on the residents to deal with that and have to put up with this public nuisance in front of their doorstep.”

She added that the shop came to the attention of the enforcement team in May due to complaints from residents that it was staying open until 2am or 3am, despite an 11pm closing time.

Residents allege this has been happening since January, although the shop’s owners say it is now obeying its current hours since receiving a warning from the enforcement team.

Ms Cheema added: “They clearly do not really care about what offences they are committing. They have put measures in place but those measures clearly are not enough.”

The business’ lawyer argued that the council “has a responsibility” to keep the area clear, rather than the business.

'The community like what we are doing'

He said: “If Bim's was not there, there would be no difference to crime in Ilford Lane.

“Police have always attended Ilford Lane frequently, if there was a hairdresser or a supermarket, crime would still be happening in the area.

“The applicant has done all the things that the enforcement team has asked them to do.”

One of the business’ owners was keen to stress that they had cooperated with council officers when approached, even paying for a public litter bin outside their shop.

He said: “If we are busy, it’s because the community like what we are doing. You can’t ask a business not to be busy.

“It’s not only about the money, it’s about providing something different to the community.”

The business has posters displayed which warn customers not to engage in anti-social behaviour, although residents argued they have not worked.

A decision on the application will be made by the sub-committee by Friday, July 31.

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