Chinese restaurant boss loses bid to open karaoke bar on the Isle of Dogs

Mailinda in Mellish Street. Pic: Google

Mailinda in Mellish Street. Pic: Google - Credit: Archant

A Chinese restaurant boss will be signing sad songs after his bid to open a karaoke bar on the Isle of Dogs was rejected by the council.

Xian Ran Zhao wanted to extend his Mailinda restaurant and takeaway in Mellish Street, Millwall, to include singing booths and live music upstairs until midnight.

But residents of John Tucker House next door argued that they were already being woken up at night by “noise and smells” emanating from the property.

Barrister Jacqueline Rubens, representing Mr Zhao, told Tower Hamlets licensing committee that the restaurant “prides itself on being a local amenity”.

She added: “Most of Mr Zhao’s customers live in the area. This is not your typical Chinese takeaway. It is traditional northern Chinese cuisine that does not include curry or strong smelling flavours.

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“It is a high end place. In regard to noise, I am told that in Chinese karaoke the idea is that you cannot hear it from outside the building. It will be quiet.”

Ms Rubens said that the building would also be soundproofed and an extractor fan and air conditioning installed.

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This would “ensure the windows would not need to be opened” and noise could not escape from the building, she said.

However, local residents argued that a karaoke bar would be inappropriate for such a built up residential area.

Gerard McMahon, who lives in the same street as the restaurant, told the committee: “My concerns are around noise. Karaoke, irrespective of the type and whether it is quiet karaoke or not, is live music.

“The residents of John Tucker House have worked all their lives and they are entitled to get some sleep without being bothered by smells and singing.

“Things like noise and the smells of cooking oil carry. John Tucker House residents and other residents in the street are worried people just won’t be quiet.”

John Tucker House resident David Stackable said: “We are suffering with the smell coming from [Mailinda] and the delivery driver and staff sitting outside the shop up to 11pm at night.

“With the application for a late drinks licence and karaoke music it will cause more suffering.”

The committee unanimously refused the application.

Mr Zhao has 21 days to appeal the decision.

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