A POPULAR Maldon venue has been refused permission to continue operating an al fresco dining area described as having “unneighbourly hours”.

Luigi's Alfresco restaurant has operated at The Limes Guest House in Market Hill since 2018, offering pizza and pasta dishes to guests.

During the pandemic the business started using a patio area at the site in order to offer socially distanced dining.

Prior to this the area was used as a tearoom which limited the hours of operation to between 9am and 6pm on Monday to Saturday.

In May retrospective plans for a change of use to allow the restaurant to operate were submitted.

But Maldon District Council has now dismissed the plans.

A report by a council planning officer said: “As this is a retrospective application, the use of the premises as a restaurant has been ongoing for some time.

“A number of complaints have been received from neighbouring residents about the restaurant, which primarily uses the external space and outbuilding located at the rear of the building for its activity.”

Maldon Town Council had supported the bid.

But the report added: “There is no indoor seating available to serve the restaurant use; this means that the customers are primarily seated in the outdoor seating area between the main building and the outbuilding located at the rear of the site.

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“The opening hours for the restaurant have also been included within the application form and state that from Monday to Friday, the restaurant is open until 11pm and on Sundays and Bank Holidays the restaurant is open between 10am and 6pm.”

The report said while the principle of a restaurant at the site would be “considered to be acceptable” the nature of the al fresco dining was described as having “unneighbourly hours”.

It added no information had been submitted to demonstrate noise and disturbance could be adequately mitigated.

The council said there is an ongoing enforcement case in relation to the restaurant.

The Standard contacted the owner of The Limes for comment.