Restaurant loses music license after bottomless brunches 'make building shake'

Spaghetti Tree outside
-Credit: (Image: Harrison Galliven)

A popular Sutton restaurant has been stripped of its live music licence following a complaint that it had ignored council orders to keep the noise down. The review of the licence was brought forward after the upstairs neighbour said the noise was preventing her from providing tuition to her students.

In addition to its alcohol licence, Spaghetti Tree restaurant on Sutton's Station Parade had a licence to play live music. While it played 'background' music throughout the week, it put on live music for most of Saturday as part of its brunch and evening entertainment offering.

According Faye Tuncer, of the Kip McGrath tuition centre above the restaurant, this music used to make the building vibrate. An officer from Sutton Council told the licensing-sub committee last week (May 14) that it was so loud you could 'clearly hear the lyrics of the song that was playing'.

Tuncer, who has since had to leave the property, told the committee: "My business was doing well, but I couldn't continue because I couldn't work on Saturdays. You need to be consistent to keep up with education on the holidays, I hoped that he would stop but he didn't."

She told the committee that she could hear music throughout the week, but it would be noticeably loud on Saturdays when the restaurant ran its 'Bottomless Brunch' and evening drinks which would finish at midnight.

This noise would emanate from live music, mainly consisting of singers, and the 'background' music played in the restaurant. The Italian restaurant, which had its licence granted in 2005, had previously been pulled in for a review in October 2021 following noise complaints.

Following this review, the restaurant was required to have a noise limiter fitted onto the main sound system, which would cause the music to cut out if deemed too loud. However, there had been numerous delays in fitting the noise limiter and it took a further two years before it was properly fitted and compliant.

Furthermore, the committee heard how despite the limiter being fitted to the main PA, it was not fitted to the speaker playing the 'background' music. Daniele Romano (the licence holder) believed that it did not apply to this speaker.

Tuncer went to say: "It was quiet and then suddenly you would hear loud music being played. I moved into the premises in October 2021, and there was no mention to me that there was any disturbance."

"I tried to negotiate with Romano when I first moved in and explained to him the nature of my business, which the landlord and agent knew. I felt that nobody listened to me, because I'm just a woman that works with young people to try to give them a better chance in life."

The committee also heard how she had tried to negotiate with Romano and pleaded with him to not start the music until after 5pm when she had concluded her tuition. However, she feels she was met with a hostile response, and no changes were made.

She said she felt intimidated by Romano and his customers downstairs. She also told the committee: "He even put another speaker in right above the back wall and said he was going to blast me out of the building, and that's what he did."

Tuncer added: "I've never experienced anything like that, it was a very sudden experience to leave after I put this complaint in because once I put this in I knew my safety was at risk. I didn't want to be in the area, and still don't want to be in the area."

Sutton licensing officers issued warnings to Romano regarding the noise levels, however, they said he had ignored these and made no effort to address the issue. Officers also attended the premises on a number of occasions to discuss the issue with Romano.

Hannah Smith, an environmental protection officer who attended the premises, heard firsthand the extent of the noise on the premises. She said: "The volume of the music caused the building to vibrate, placing my hand on the floor I could feel the vibrations coming through the building. I could clearly hear the lyrics of the song that was playing."

Romano, who was present at the meeting, said he was 'sorry to be here again' and added: "I'm very sad to hear what's been said."

However, he took issue with what he claimed was Tuncer's lack of communication with him regarding her concerns. He said: "I heard this notice and was shocked because we hadn't heard anything from anybody with regards to the noise."

He told the committee how he had only had one interaction with his neighbour during the entire time she had been based upstairs. This interaction came following a Saturday Brunch, where the music disturbed the tuition.

He said: "There was one time the applicant came to the restaurant, before the previous hearing. I was outside the front door, she entered the restaurant and pushed three women on the dancefloor aside and grabbed the microphone from my singer; after she fell on the floor and sprained her ankle."

"Being shocked at the event I had to escort her out of the premises. That's the only interaction I've had with the neighbour above, which is quite disheartening as we're not these kind of people."

When asked if he could reduce activity on Saturdays, Romano said that the brunches had 'saved' them following a difficult time during COVID and that it was now their busiest day. He also told the committee how he had previously made other concessions like closing the front doors to ensure noise would not escape onto the street.

After hearing the opinions of Romano, Tuncer and Sutton's environmental protection officers, the sub-committee decided to prohibit the restaurant from playing live music at any time. However, the playing of background music is still permitted.

The restaurant, which has another branch in Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, can still play live music if granted by a temporary notice. However, any music played in this instance must be subject to a sound limiter.

The Spaghetti Tree also had a branch in Warlingham, Surrey, which had its licence reviewed after a brawl at a ticketed event in which four men were arrested for offences, including GBH, affray, ABH and violent disorder. That branch is currently closed after a fire last year.

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