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.