A POPULAR Maldon venue has been refused permission to continue operating an al fresco dining area for a second time.

Luigi’s Alfresco restaurant at The Limes Guest House in Market Hill had applied to Maldon District Council to allow its change of use.

The Italian restaurant opened officially in July 2019 after success with a pop-up event at the guesthouse.

An earlier bid for retrospective permission to keep an al-fresco dining area was rejected and described as having “unneighbourly hours”. The newest application includes a noise survey, which was lacking in the previous refused application.

But Maldon District Council has rejected the new retrospective bid saying it would cause “demonstrable harm” to neighbours.

It added there was “insufficient” information submitted to demonstrate noise and disturbance could be adequately mitigated.

Maldon Town Council, which had supported the initial bid, objected to the plans amid concerns over the “unneighbourly opening hours.”

The new application had also included two dining pods.

A report by the council’s planning officer said a “number of complaints” had been received by neighbouring residents.

The report said: “The application site is located in a quieter area to that of the High Street and is in close proximity to residential properties.

“In particular, the extent of the outdoor ‘al fresco’ operations of the restaurant, are particularly of concern given that limited mitigation against noise transmission can be provided to an open-air operation.”

Concern was also raised about opening hours.

READ MORE>>> Popular Italian restaurant submits new application for dining area

The report said: “The operating times have not been amended from the previous application and the business operates in the mornings and late into the evenings between 9am and 11pm, six days a week, as well as on Sundays and Bank Holidays between 10am and 6pm.

“Although such hours may be acceptable in other locations within the town centre, robust evidence is required to ensure the amenity of adjoining residents is not impacted upon.”

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

The Standard contacted The Limes and Luigi’s but did not receive a response before going to print.

Geoff Eaton, the planning agent for the application, previously said they hoped the new application would address any concerns.