A DERELICT former bar in Tynemouth which was unpopular with residents is being completely revamped and will be named after the new owner’s baby daughter.
The premises of the former OZ’s bar, in The Arcade, which residents of nearby Arcade Park say blighted their lives due to noise, will re-open in May as Lola Jean’s following extensive renovation.
North Tyneside Council’s licensing sub-committee yesterday (Wednesday) granted a new licence for the premises, which has had nearly half a million pounds spent on it by ex-hockey pro Paul Sample, who bought the building in November.
It was Mr Sample’s father, Jim, who originally converted the Arcade Park apartments and his son plans to live there with his young family.
Arcade Park resident Christine Vibert said OZ’s had “caused great distress” to herself and fellow neighbours, with children unable to sleep due to loud music.
Mrs Vibert spoke of fears that reopening the premises would lead to more noise from karaoke, bingo or amplified music.
She also said she worried that rear exit doors, which lead into the Arcade Park building, would leave residents vulnerable.
She also asked that opening hours would not extend beyond 11.30pm.
Richard Arnot, representing Mr Sample at the hearing, said that if he wanted to run a similar establishment to OZ’s, he could have simply reopened with the existing licence, which has been in place since the 1980s.
He said Mr Sample wanted to break the link with the infamous OZ’s and create a “relaxed lounge-style premises” where people can enjoy quality food and drink.
“The building has been very much unloved since it’s been out of use,” Mr Arnot said.
“It was in a right state, the roof was about to cave in. There was water damage, sewage problems and rats.
“Mr Sample has spent a considerable amount of money just stabilising the building.”
The roof will now be lined with a special acoustic foam to prevent noise escaping and new glass atriums, which will be installed to bring light into the premises will have a layer of argon gas between the panes, to insulate from noise.
Mr Arnot added: “People will enjoy coming to our premises. We are very much different from OZ’s.”
Hethen held up an OZ’s advertising poster, portraying a kangaroo drinking a pint of beer, adding: “I think you can imagine what sort of place it was.
“We are a million miles from what they did and we are very confident that we will not have problems.”
He added that Mr Sample in no way wants to upset the residents in Arcade Park, in particular as they own the freehold of the building, and he reassured them that the rear doors would only be used as emergency exits and would be alarmed.
He also said karaoke would not take place on the premises and that bingo would probably be illegal.
The committee granted the licence with conditions including criteria for CCTV recordings, ‘challenge 21’ policy and noise abatement.
They also limited the opening hours to midnight on Sundays.