An Essex restaurant has said its electricity bills have quadrupled to £100,000 and needs a licence to sell alcohol and host live music in order to stay competitive.

Tom, Dick and Harry’s, in Loughton, was granted the new licence by Epping Forest District Council yesterday (September 6).

The restaurant, which replaced the Nu Bar nightclub in 2018 after a series of violent incidents sparked its closure, will now be allowed to sell alcohol and host live music until half past midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Speaking at the meeting, owner Lee Newton said the restaurant had seen its energy bills increase from £25,000 to £100,000 and that extending the hours would allow it to serve customers an extra sitting and to remain competitive.

He said neither Tom Dick and Harry’s nor its neighbour God’s Own Pizza, also owned by the applicant, had caused problems in the past and that the restaurant had been unfairly tarnished by the reputation of Nu Bar.

He said: “Nothing but good things have come out of Tom Dick and Harry’s in Loughton. It looks better, it feels better, it’s safe, it’s a better environment and it’s a very good restaurant serving fantastic food in a great atmosphere.”

He later said: “The competition has got live music licences so if we haven’t got the same we’re on the road to ruin.”

The application received 18 objections from residents, largely regarding concerns over public nuisance and the prevention of crime and disorder.

A statement from one objector, Emma Stratford, was read out by her father John at the meeting, and claimed granting the licence could set a precedent with other businesses in the High Street looking for later licences and for music outside.

She also claimed the late hours could attract a younger crowd more likely to cause disturbances. However this was denied by the applicant at the meeting.

A section read: “I wanted to live in Loughton because I felt it had the right balance between a bustling high street environment and somewhere residents could live without undue interference.

“I believe that this application upsets the balance between the coexisting parties.”

What does the new licence allow?

Sale of alcohol will be allowed between 10am-12am Mondays-Wednesdays, until 12.30am Thursdays-Saturday and until 11pm on Sundays.

Live and recorded music indoors will be allowed between 10am-11pm Sundays-Wednesdays and 10am-12.30am Thursdays-Saturdays.

The outside seating area will have to be cleared of customers by 10pm on Sundays-Wednesdays, and by 11pm on Thursdays-Saturdays.

Live and recorded music outside must end at the same time as the outdoor seating area.

On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, any Wednesday in December and days preceding bank holidays, the sale of alcohol and live and recorded music indoors will be allowed until 12.30am. On New Year’s Eve they will be allowed until 1am.

Overall opening hours will be between 8am-12.30am Mondays-Wednesday, 8am-1am Thursdays-Saturday and 11.30pm on Sundays.  On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, any Wednesday in December days preceding a bank holiday 08:00 to 01:00 it will be open between 8am-1am, and until 1.30am on New Year’s Eve.