Latin restaurants' plans to play music until early hours sparks backlash from owners of £1m flats

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Residents of one of London’s tallest towers are up in arms over a Latin restaurant’s bid to play music into the early hours.

Neighbours in the 43-storey Strata SE1 building in Elephant and Castle have objected to plans from La Barra, under a nearby railway arch, to extend its music licence from 12.30am  to 3am at weekends.

In their application to Southwark council the Colombian bar’s owners said: “We are a Latin restaurant and most of our customers like to have their meals late at the weekends and listen to music whilst they have their meals.”

Videos on the venue’s Facebook page show diners getting out of their seats and dancing to traditional South American ballads and louder dance music played by a DJ. 

Nicknamed the Razor, the Strata was one of the world’s first skyscrapers to incorporate wind turbines into its design. 

It was voted the country’s ugliest building on its completion in 2010, winning the ignominious Carbuncle Cup.

Residents of the tower, where a three-bedroom apartment costs more than £1 million, detailed fears of an increase in noise pollution and anti-social behaviour in 21 objections handed to the council’s licensing sub-committee.

Noise row: Residents in the 43-storey Strata tower have been disturbed by noise from a nearby restaurant (Getty Images)

One neighbour, living on the south side of the building facing the restaurant, wrote: “In recent warmer months, I have heard loud music playing from the venue to the extent that I cannot hear my own TV clearly without raising the volume to an intolerable level.” 

Another added: “Anti-social behaviour in the alley by people leaving the premises late at night is causing a public nuisance and safety concerns. They are smoking, talking and shouting. 

“I have witnessed people smoking items that smell of marijuana, condoms left on the ground from the night before and people shouting and fighting loudly as leaving.” 

In May, council inspectors warned La Barra to adhere its existing licence terms after they found customers drinking at the bar after closing time.

A director at the Strata Management Company, representing 408 flats in the tower, said the venue had “inadequate” soundproofing. 

He said: “Other archway premises such as Corsica Studios have invested heavily in containing their noise — this one has not.” 

However, Juan Torres, La Barra’s licence holder, blamed excessive noise on neighbouring businesses. 

He said: “Other people are allowed children until 10.30pm and they make a lot of noise but there’s nothing we can do. 

“We keep the doors closed and are planning to have extra security that will move on customers within three minutes to keep it quiet.”

The licensing sub-committee will meet on September 4.

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