Brick Lane residents complain of council ‘curry curfew’ letters
10:10 20 February 2014
Tenants in Brick Lane have been threatened with council fines if they keep their restaurants open late – despite the fact they don’t own any.
David Donoghue, a 66-year-old part-time consultant, said he and his neighbours living above the Famous Curry Bazaar were sent letters by recorded delivery telling them to adhere to permitted opening hours.
He said: “It’s stupid, bureaucratic nonsense. The letters were sent to all the residents. How stupid is that?
“What are they doing sending recorded delivery letters to people who have nothing to do with the businesses, telling them they will be fined for something over which they have no control? It’s insane.”
Three weeks ago the Advertiser revealed curry houses had been served notices not to open after midnight or face a £20,000 fine.
Tower Hamlets council confirmed that the notices had been issued but dismissed reports of a “curfew”.
Mr Donogue, a member of the Spitalfields society, said he thought the council’s actions were a reaction to the problems of noisy bars, drug dealers and public urination.
He said: “We have often complained about the anti-social behaviour in Brick Lane, but I do find that they pick on the local restaurants and leave the clubs alone.”
Another tenant, musician Charles Kennedy, 38, said: “I think it’s ridiculous. It just seems to be a sort of misguided idea of getting residents to police businesses.”
He added: “The Famous Curry Bazaar are fantastic neighbours and I don’t think anyone should be trying to infringe on their activities.
“It seems like they’re trying to get rid of what makes Brick Lane special.”
A council spokesman said: “Letters were sent to bar owners and restaurateurs reminding them of their responsibility to operate within permitted opening hours.
“It is standard practice to write to all addresses within each property to make everyone aware.”
She added: “There is no curfew in Brick Lane – Tower Hamlets council is completely behind local businesses and supports the restaurants.”