Worthing bar wants to stay open until 2am

A Worthing bar wants to extend its alcohol licence and opening hours as well as making an outdoor seating area a permanent feature.

Manuka Bar and Kitchen in Portland Road, Worthing (Photo from Google Maps Street View)
Manuka Bar and Kitchen in Portland Road, Worthing (Photo from Google Maps Street View)

Manuka Bar & Kitchen, in Portland Road, applied for changes to its licence in July and they are set to be discussed at a meeting of Worthing Borough Council’s licensing committee tonight (Wednesday September 15).

The café is adjacent to and above surrounding businesses and there are residential areas to the north (Shelley Road) and south (Chandos Road and Portland Road flats).

The current owners have been running the business since October 2017 and are seeking permission to sell alcohol between 10 am and 1.30 am and to extend their opening hours from 10 am until 2 am, seven days a week.

Manuka also wants to allow last entries to the venue at 1am instead of midnight.

Since July last year, the business has been allowed to use the pavement in Portland Square for a temporary seating area as a result of Covid restrictions.

Now, it wants to make the outside seating area a permanent feature. If allowed, this would be open all week until 11 pm.

Worthing Borough Council’s environmental protection team originally objected to the proposals.

But this has been withdrawn as long as Manuka carries out a noise assessment and puts a noise management plan in place.

It also requested that a log be kept of any noise complaints, that outdoor seating is inaccessible after 11pm and that windows, doors and the balcony remain closed from 8pm.

However, 10 members of the public – most of them nearby residents – have objected to the changes with one calling Portland Square ‘an echo chamber’.

One objected to the permanent seating area, saying: “I understood this measure was to help recover from Covid, not a permanent arrangement.

“I did not move into this property to be next door to an outside

restaurant and bar with DJs and the ensuing additional noise.”

Another nearby resident said: “We live here 24 hours a day, all year long. We can only put up with so much noise. Enough is enough!”

Hidden Hearing, which shares a building with Manuka, also objected to the plans and said hearing tests had been disrupted.

The business explained: “We conduct hearing tests and require the area to be quiet.

“At times we have been unable to carry out our appointments in full as hearing tests have failed due to outside interference.”

Portland Road is part of a redevelopment plan which will see large areas pedestrianised.