The former Basildon hair salon is to be transformed into an Afro-Caribbean restaurant

Former Basildon hair salon to be transformed into an Afro-Caribbean restaurant. Photo: Google Street View

A former hair salon which is being transformed into an Afro-Caribbean restaurant has been granted a license to serve alcohol until late by an Essex council.

Veil Restaurant and Grill, formerly Access Unisex Hair Salon in Battleswick, Basildon, will be permitted to sell alcohol to customers indoors between 11am and midnight, Tuesday to Sunday.

According to officers at a Basildon Borough Council Licensing Sub-Committee meeting earlier today (August 2), the restaurant was originally due to stay open until 1am but this was reduced after discussions with the board.

Several neighbors welcomed the change, saying it will help bring together a diverse local community, but others raised concerns about potential noise and parking issues.

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Candidate Benjamin Brem told the committee, “I am opening a restaurant that will be for the community, for alcohol and food. It’s not a bar, it’s just a restaurant where people can come and sit here and have cocktails and eat their food.

The application received seven statements of support from residents and three objections.

An opponent who spoke at the meeting, Benjamin Stewart, said he was concerned that allowing the restaurant to sell alcohol until late could “exacerbate” an existing problem of antisocial behavior and noise in the area.

He continued to say that his children had trouble sleeping at night because of the noise from other establishments nearby, and also said that former clients of Mr. Benjamin did not use nearby parking lots.

He said: “I think the restaurant itself is a brilliant idea, but my concerns are those of the immediate neighborhood and the people who live here.”

Mr Brem described Mr Stewart as a ‘friend’ and said he could talk to him if he had any problems.

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Announcing the subcommittee’s decision, Councilor Daniel Lawrence (Con, Billericay West) said there was no evidence of anti-social behavior directly linked to the premises and the restaurant would have signs directing customers to park in the large car park nearby.

One of the written representations submitted to council ahead of the meeting read: “You can’t imagine how thrilled we feel and still feel when we found out that the Hardy Road Barber Shop is being transformed into an Afro-Caribbean restaurant.

“For someone who has lived here for almost eight years. This will create jobs and bring the community of Basildon together as a diverse community as it always has been.

Additionally, Wendy Reddon, one of two supporters who spoke at the meeting, said, “For me and my daughter, we don’t have a lot of interaction with the community, so having an Afro restaurant -Caribbean like this right on our doorstep, that’s a big bonus for us.

The restaurant has obtained a license for the sale of alcohol to be consumed on site from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to midnight.

The license also allows music recorded between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. and late-night refreshments between 11 p.m. and midnight.

The Veil Restaurant and Grill’s hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to midnight.

Michael M. Tomlin