Indian restaurant's bid to stem controversy over outdoor seating plan in Sheffield

AJ Ali, co-owner of Lavang at Nether Green, Sheffield
AJ Ali, co-owner of Lavang at Nether Green, Sheffield
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Management at an Indian restaurant in Sheffield have moved to ease neighbours' fears over a plan to offer outdoor seating for diners.

Lavang, at the junction of Fulwood Road and Tom Lane in Nether Green, has asked the council for permission to put down wooden decking at the front of its premises, providing extra space for 32 people.

Lavang, at Nether Green, Sheffield

Lavang, at Nether Green, Sheffield

The restaurant, which describes itself as a 'fine dining' venue, wants to offer the outdoor seating between midday and 11pm during fine weather.

So far 25 objections have been lodged by residents, many of whom are worried about the potential for increased noise and traffic - but Lavang's co-owner AJ Ali said there had been 'a bit of a misunderstanding'.

"We're not increasing our capacity," he said, responding to concerns that there would be a higher demand for on-street parking.

"It's something we will offer to customers that would normally be dining inside. A lot of our customers come by cab anyway."

He added: "We're around during the day and we can see plenty of parking spaces."

Mr Ali also said the restaurant would generally maintain its normal hours - 5.30pm until 10.30pm Sunday to Thursday, and up to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays - despite the new request to start at noon.

"We've applied for permission from midday to 11 just to give us that flexibility in case anyone wants some sort of party, or whatever it may be."

Some residents have claimed the application tips the balance in favour of businesses, and that noise from the outdoor seating, and events at the Rising Sun pub which is opposite Lavang, would have a cumulative impact.

However, Mr Ali argued: "I can't see how it's becoming commercialised. There's a lot of shops next to us, and the pub's opposite, but we don't operate in the same time frame as a lot of other businesses."

He said objectors had not approached the restaurant's management, but admitted: "We haven't gone round and knocked on everyone's doors."

The controversy follows similar opposition when Lavang was granted its alcohol licence earlier this year. The place opened in February, replacing Panahar on the same site.