Councillor opposes new Greenwich town centre Nanban restaurant

Greenwich West Labour councillor Maureen O’Mara has written to object to a proposed new Greenwich town centre restaurant.

Despite being located in a town centre near a theatre, shops, pubs, bars and restaurants the councillor is opposing a license for Japanese restaurant Nanban, the brainchild of a former Masterchef winner.

The councillor’s objection notes the very same premises was previously in use as a restaurant.

The town centre location is a key factor in her objection, with mention of a saturation zone.

The saturation policy has previously been used to hamper an independent Woolwich café from serving alcohol dispute the presence of supermarkets selling cheap alcohol nearby.

Greenwich Council initially had reservations with Nanban due to vague conditions, but after discussions the restaurant has agreed to all conditions.

Despite those reservations being overcome and an email stating a hearing was not now required, it’s still happening.

Independent among chains

Nanban is a highly acclaimed Japanese restaurant that’s been welcomed by many locals as an asset to Greenwich town centre and an increasingly chain-based nightlife and restaurant scene in the town. The London company have two other branches after starting out in Brixton.

Objecting to the restaurant and it’s ability to serve drinks will help to ensure a new independent business is unviable by either limiting opening times and/or serving alcohol during a meal.

It also has the effect, if their application is rejected, of keeping Greenwich as an evermore homogenised destination.

Furthermore, it doesn’t present a clear signal to independent businesses that Greenwich is welcome to them.

Ultimately, the question is will patrons at one high quality Japanese restaurant cause problems in a town centre area already enjoying a theatre, numerous supermarkets, pubs, bars and other restaurants?

A licensing meeting will discuss plans next week.


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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

15 thoughts on “Councillor opposes new Greenwich town centre Nanban restaurant

  • The Original Spread Eagle was a well regarded destination restaurant. The Nanban small chain are respected too.
    Greenwich needs a quality restaurant and this meets that requirement.

  • she should be more worried about the street crime levels .. stopping people coming into greenwich town centre to visit the shops ..

  • Thanks for bringing this utterly idiotic objection to our attention. Does she really think a bunch of diners in a Japanese restaurant are going to be spilling out into the streets causing anti-social behavior? Hopefully the objection will be ignored otherwise you’ll end-up with something nasty like a betting shop.

  • Crazy how Greenwich council & councillors operate having lived the the centre for over 10years. We need some quality restaurants in the borough and make sure the spending stays within the borough or attract visitors willing to travel from outside the borough. People always willing to travel for the food! e.g Marcella in Deptford, Numerous great restaurants in Peckam i,e Levan, Artusi etc….

  • “I would still ask the Committee to bear in mind the right of local residents to to enjoy some peace and quiet in their own homes.” she writes. But it’s unclear how Nanban will impact and she gives no evidence as to why. When can we move to evidence and not ‘what ifs’ and ‘well I reckon’ and slippery slope ‘arguments’ (ie I don’t like it but am too afraid to say that simply).

    As noted please could she object to the chains first.

  • Councillor Maureen O’Hara should be worrying about far more serious issues affecting the Borough of Greenwich.

    Like rising street and knife crime, homelessness, poor standards of council housing etc. Councillors should be supporting and encouraging new businesses coming to the Borough which in turn can help create much needed jobs.

    As the local population continues to grow in the Borough we need to see more amenities for local residents and this includes restaurants too.

    As Plumstead residents says this is a utterly idiotic objection.

    Thank you for another great article and keeping us updated with what is locally.

  • Thank you for keeping us updated with what is happening locally.

  • A Japanese restaurant chain wanting to invest into greenwich should be seen by local Councillors as a huge benefit .. does maureen prefer the restaurant to stay empty and for local residents not to have work ? She is a disgrace .. she continues to be the local Councillor for an area that is going down hill

    if you have bought a house near a busy town center like Greenwich .. you can not then be entitled to demand the town closes down .. this is exactly the same rationale for those who live on crooms hill.. you bought on a street that had traffic

  • Absolutely right Graham and London Man. I welcome the new restaurant.and i am sure it will be a great success and provide much needed jobs in hospitality.

    I would much rather see a empty building brought back in to use than left empty to fall in to a state of disrepair which is turn has a negative affect on neighbouring businesses and can attract ant social behaviour.

  • It may be a result of pressure and influence exerted by wealthy property owners in the area. This is often the case with venue licensing in London: some have even been forced to close down.

    It doesn’t make sense outside of that. There’s been a restaurant there for decades, back to Moy’s Spreadeagle. It was built as a coaching inn – expect that was more boisterous than anything proposed here.

  • Even though I should be positive, but I feel there is an ulterior motive here.
    Probably the councillor has got some friends with different plans for this property, and is looking for a way to make this happen.

    We can all agree this objection is not for the benefit of the people in Green borough, so someone else is looking to benefit here….

  • Getting bit far-fetched now. A Councillors role is to represent the view of their constituents. If there as been a good deal of pressure from residents there, that is the result. The residents in Crooms Hill and surrounding streets are notorious for this. I had a good friend of many years who lived on Crooms Hill: the “issues” he experienced from other residents were endless.

  • as the views seem to be generally in favour can i suggest that all contact Maureen O’Mara and ask her to reconsider…

  • Seems the whole narrative represented here was quite overblown in the end.


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