Council hits back over Brick Lane curry house ‘curfew’ claims

Azmal Hussain outside his restaurant in Brick lane

Azmal Hussain outside his restaurant in Brick lane - Credit: Archant

The council has hit back over claims it was imposing a “curfew” on restaurants in Brick Lane to curb anti-social behaviour.

Last week the Advertiser reported that curry houses had been served notices not to open after midnight or face a £20,000 fine.

Azmal Hussain, restaurant owner and chair of Brick Lane Traders Association, said his members will “go bust” if they have to close before 12.

Tower Hamlets Council confirmed these notices were issued, but restated its commitment to a “thriving” Brick Lane.

A council spokesman said: “It may make a spicy headline to suggest that Brick Lane’s curry houses are under threat from Tower Hamlets, but nothing could be further from the truth.

“Over the last five years we have been visiting restaurants in the area, telling them they must comply with their opening hours and have had to prosecute some operators. But this has not stopped Brick Lane from being a thriving place and we want it to go from strength to strength in the future.”

He said restaurants must operate within the legal opening hours in line with their planning permission, and can apply to extend their opening ours if they choose.

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Mayor Lutfur Rahman, dismissing claims of a curfew, said: “I am 100 per cent committed to the restaurateurs of Brick Lane who have worked hard over the past decades to make it a thriving tourist attraction and hub for the local economy.”

Labour councillor for Spitalfields Helal Abbas called the council’s actions “heavy handed”.

He said: “While restaurants should of course abide by their licencing conditions, what we need is for Lutfur Rahman to take sensible action to help revive Brick Lane’s fortunes for everyone who lives or works there.

“That will not be achieved by knee jerk reactions which put jobs, businesses and the unique attraction of Brick Lane at risk.”