Neighbours complain about Mexican restaurant plan for Portishead

68 High Street in Portishead where a new Mexican restaurant is planned

68 High Street in Portishead, where a new Mexican restaurant is planned - Credit: Local Democracy Reporting Service

A new Mexican restaurant is set to bring a healthy alternative to fast food to Portishead.

The owners of Salsa plan to open in the former Barclays bank branch, in the High Street, on December 18.

The new venue,  with space for 40 diners, will also offer a delivery service taking food and drink to people’s doors.

General manager Krystina Hartry, who grew up in the town, said: “We want to offer something for everyone; from those commuting at 7am, or teenagers on their way to school who need a hearty breakfast; to those with dietary restrictions or preferences; to someone finishing shift work at 10pm and wanting a healthier fast food alternative.

“We really believe this is what Portishead needs. There have been some great food and drink additions as well as the existing favourites of late and we want to continue developing Portishead’s food scene, and especially help revitalise the High Street into a vibrant, energised place to be all through the week and year.”

The licensing application says the business plans to open daily from 7am until 11pm and 8am on Sundays. It will serve alcohol from noon, but only with meals, insisting “this is not a drinking establishment”.

All background music will be wound down at 9.30pm and stop in full at 10pm.

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The application says: “Children are welcome in the premises during all times of the day. Although alcohol is to be sold from midday onwards, a very strict proof of age scheme will be implemented, especially given the numbers of teenage school age children that may frequent the premises.”

Despite the assurances, two people have complained.

One neighbour raised concerns about noise outside at all hours, saying that most businesses in the area close at 5pm and do not open on Sundays and branding it a “ridiculous place” for a late night restaurant.

And a landlord voiced fears about the impact on property prices from the noise and smell, and said there had been no application for a change of use from the former bank.

Responding to the comments, Ms Hartry said: “Although we will be opening till late into the evening, this is in keeping with other venues in Portishead, some of which are on the High Street also, and all of which all are in close proximity of residential dwellings or underneath as we are.

“While there may well be an increase in activity in the premises due to the opening of Salsa, which is inevitable as it’s been vacant for some time and also the purpose of a retail high street premises, we will be doing all we can to mitigate any unwanted noise and disruption to neighbouring properties and encourage residents to come and talk to us in the first instance to work together with any concerns they may have.”

She said instead of harming property prices they will be boosted by a vibrant high street that draws people to Portishead.

The licensing application will be considered by North Somerset councillors on December 15.

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