I can hardly believe my ears when I heard that THREE more restaurant bars are planned for Leigh.

The Tiger Lily bar in Leigh Road has apparently applied for permission to include bar and restaurant on two storeys.

The former Herb Garden and Dolce Vita are both situated at the top of Dundonald Drive and there are plans for both to be transformed into – you’ve guessed it – two more bar restaurants.

Add to these three applications, the new American Diner that’s currently being developed in the former Organic Café site and the proposed opening of yet another eatery (albeit a posh one) on the Pickets furniture site and that’s FIVE more restaurant bars in a location that’s already overcrowded with this type of establishment.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous rang me to complain.

She told me that last year she submitted an application for an ice cream parlour catering primarily for families and children but her application was refused on the grounds of parking problems.

She (and I) would like to know just how these other applications were approved yet hers refused, when new bars surely must bring with them far more potential parking problems.

Another person told me how exhausted they were from the noise levels they endured at the weekend from the Vie Bar in Leigh Broadway.

This person lives very near the bar and has had everything from broken glasses and ‘For Sale’ boards to vomit and fast food wrappers in her front garden.

How lovely for a young family to discover this on a Sunday morning - or indeed at any time.

The same person asked why NONE of these bars encouraged any respectful behaviour towards neighbours in this residential area?

“How come”, they asked, “there are no visible notices with ‘respect our neighbours’ please leave quietly, on display?”

It’s a perfectly reasonable question and one I am certain the residents of Dundonald Drive will soon be asking should the two new restaurant/bars at the top of this road get the red light, which let’s face it, they invariably will.

Can’t the bars that are profiting, sometimes at the expense of the peace of mind of nearby residents, be encouraged to work together to send the message to customers that bad and thoughtless behaviour wont be tolerated and will result in being barred from the establishment?

I’m sure the locals would be more tolerant if bars were seen to be proactive in helping to limit noise and trouble from their punters.

Laurence Chuck of Florence Flowers in Leigh Broadway says that in his opinion, the heart of Leigh is being, “ripped out.”

He said,

“The town is becoming a nocturnal place.

There must be 100 times more people visiting Leigh at night than during the day and this is putting small shops out of business.

It seems that almost the moment these shops close they quickly reopen as ‘trendy wine bars’ and it’s a vicious cycle.

I know people who moved to Leigh believing it was a different sort of place to the reality they discover and they’re really disappointed.”

As more people I know, discover I am writing this little blog for the Echo, I am being asked to raise the issue of noise pollution on an almost daily basis.

Most people want to know, just who it is that continues to grant permission for these bar applications?

Almost without exception, 99 per cent of those I speak to are convinced that someone or some department in the council is getting back handers in return for granted applications.

No doubt, this belief is entirely without foundation but it’s not a very healthy image for residents to have of their local council is it?

And there will always be the "no-smoke-without-fire" brigade to further fuel suspicions.

Bell Hotel

One piece of positive news however is that Robin Levy is planning to convert the old Bell Hotel site into a new and much needed hotel complex.

Mr Levy must have read my blog a couple of weeks ago and taken on board my suggestions!

But every silver lining has a cloud of course, and the down side to the proposed hotel is that Mr levy wants to also build 20 flats just behind the hotel.

Where is the infrastructure in this small and already over populated area to support all these new residents?

Will the doctors and schools cope with the influx of newcomers? Where will they park?

There is already too much traffic and growing pollution in our town?

I know in business nothing matters more than profit, but PLEASE think of the long term welfare of our little town too!


Not everyone thinks all the new bars are a problem though – whoever wrote the wikepedia entry for Leigh obviously sees the increase in these venues as a positive thing.

“Leigh-on-Sea has a thriving artistic community, and holds an annual Art Trail where local and invited international artists show their works in the area's shops and cafes.

"Furthermore, a proliferation of trendy bar-cafés, restaurants, galleries and studios along The Broadway (the main shoping street) has served to give the town a more 'upmarket' feel than its larger neighbour to the east.”

So, it’s not all doom and gloom, but I hope the powers that be listen to the residential voice of Leigh and take on board the wishes of the people before it’s too late.