The Boss Lounge in Burnham-On-Sea

A Burnham-On-Sea cocktail bar will be able to stay open for longer hours following a decision by Sedgemoor District Council this week despite concerns from some residents about late night antisocial behaviour.

Shomika and Serge Bitton took over the licence for The Boss Lounge and Bar in Burnham’s Chapel Street in April 2022, and they have been running it since then with members of their family.

They applied to Sedgemoor District Council in January to alter the existing licence, in order to allow the business to stay open until 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays. They have reassured residents that late noise is kept to a minimum.

Despite some concerns from residents and town councillors, the council’s licensing and gambling panel approved the change when it met in Bridgwater on Monday (March 13th).

Burnham-On-Sea Boss Lounge and Bar

The lounge currently opens from 4pm from Wednesday to Sunday, with closing time being 11pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 10pm on Sundays.

Under the revised licence, the premises will be able to stay open until 1:30am on Fridays and Saturdays – with an extension to 2:30am on New Year’s Eve, as well as late closings on Boxing Day and other bank holidays. The business may also open from 12pm during the summer months.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council objected, stating that the extension could cause a “public nuisance” to local residents.

A shop owner in Victoria Street said in a statement to the council that she was concerned the new licence would lead to antisocial behaviour in the town centre following late night noise “most weekends.” She added: “While I support local independent business, I feel that any change to extend patronage or hours at the above address would be detrimental to the local residents and businesses.”

But Shomika Bitton said that she had run The Boss Lounge responsibly since taking over the licence and wanted it to be an asset to Burnham’s nightlife.

She told the panel: “We wanted a cocktail bar near my sister-in-law – we wanted a place where we and couples could go without any trouble or without having to travel up to Bristol. We wanted something for the town. Tour reps come in and always ask ‘where is there to go?’

Burnham-On-Sea Boss Lounge and Bar

“We will offer cocktail making sessions – we want to make sure that there’s something to do in the town. We have got security on the doors – we literally want to make it safe and happy for everyone.”

“When we took over the premises, we got rid of the existing huge speakers straight away.”

After around half an hour’s debate, the panel agreed to approve the new licence, citing a lack of objections from Avon and Somerset Police and other statutory consultees, noted the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Cllr Barrie Crow, who chaired the meeting, said: “The applicant has already reached an agreement with the police and our environmental health team and has agreed conditions for inclusion on any licence; therefore there was no formal objection from them.”

“It is clear that there had been historical problems with the premises, primarily from loud music and this was not within Ms Bitton’s business model. We found it disappointing that none of the objectors saw fit to attend and support their objection.”

“We accepted and believed that many of the noise-related issues raised in the objections were historical, from the previous ownership and not directly attributable to the current applicant.”

“While it was accepted that there may be issues of anti-social behaviour within the vicinity of the premises, there was no evidence that they can be attributed directly to the premises.”

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