A restaurant that hoped to stay open to 3am has had its licensing application refused over fears it would be a “public nuisance”.

Southend Council’s licensing sub-committee heard an application from African Taste, in London Road, Westcliff to serve alcohol and to play music until 3am every day of the week.

Owner, Fredrick Engmann, hoped to cater for people working unsocial hours and to be able to hold parties with music.

At the hearing, a cancer sufferer neighbour urged councillors to turn down the application after revealing they already suffered vile antisocial behaviour and an extension of the licence would make it worse.

A spokeswoman for Southend Council confirmed the application had been refused.

She said: “The sub-committee considered that the promotion of the licensing objectives, namely the prevention of public nuisance (noise and disturbance), would be undermined by the granting of the application before them and the application failed to demonstrate how it would meet the licensing objectives. Therefore the application was refused.”

Speaking to the Echo after submitting his application, Mr Engmann  said: “We do have music but not too much. We’re not a nightclub. It’s more about the food.

“A lot of our customers work in the care industry, so their free time varies. They work unsociable hours, with many of them not finishing until midnight.

“At that time, all the other restaurants are closed. Us being open late means carers don’t have to go home. They can come here to de-stress, enjoy some food and play pool.”

At the hearing on March 1, Paul Pearce, environmental health officer for Southend Council, said: “My opinion as the responsible authority for environmental protection, should the application be granted with these hours, with the information I’ve received it will result in a public nuisance.

“As we’ve heard today, if the licence applied for is used fully it would lead to massive complaints. We would also like to avoid environmental protection having to call the applicant back for a review of the premises licence.

“I’m concerned it would risk damaging public health.”