Holborn’s Sicilian Avenue

WITH its picturesque neo-classical arcade, lined with flowers and bushes, Holborn’s Sicilian Avenue is a spot usually as serene as the Mediterranean island it is named after.

But a row has broken out on the old-world Italian street after the owner of a pasta restaurant accused the pub opposite of disturbing their al-fresco diners with its rowdy punters.

Now the Spaghetti House has taken the unusual step of demanding a review of the Holborn Whippet pub’s licence and requesting conditions are imposed on the grounds it is failing to “promote the prevention of public nuisance”.

The restaurant said it had decided to take action after attempts to solve the problems were unsuccessful.

Rocco Cerullo, general manager of the Spaghetti House, one of a chain of traditional Italian restaurants, which has been on the avenue for over 20 years, said the restaurant had decided to take the step after attempts to engage the pub’s management were unsuccessful.

In a statement sent to Camden Council, Mr Cerullo said the noise caused by the “large and intoxicated crowd” meant customers no longer wanted to use the outside area.

“Before the pub opened we were always very busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the summer time as people loved to dine outside the restaurant and look at the view of Sicilian Avenue”, he said. “This is no longer possible as the pub’s crowd of customers has actually made the outdoor area quite unpleasant to dine in.”

Mr Cerullo said that noise from the pub’s customers was amplified by the high walls of the avenue, creating a “canyon effect” that meant the levels were “unbearable” and diners could not hear themselves have a conversation.

He added that customers kept gathering near the entrance to the avenue, blocking the access route to the restaurant and leaving broken glass and cigarette butts on the floor.

A spokesman for the Holborn Whippet pub said: “We’re currently in discussions with the Spaghetti House. We are disappointed they felt they need to review the premises licence but we’re happy to work with any fellow food and drink businesses in Sicilian Avenue and hope that in the future we will be able to resolve any matters without any need to engage a committee.”

Only one complaint about the Holborn Whippet has been received from the Spaghetti House, in 2014.

The council’s licensing officer said conditions had already been imposed on the licence but additional measures could include a limit on the number of people allowed outside or extra security to manage outside areas and the personal licence-holder to be on site at all times.

A Spaghetti House spokeman said: ‘We are disappointed to be put into this situation but we await the process of the hearing and its outcome.”

Published: 5 August, 2016

Source: West End Extra.


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