A LEBANESE restaurant had a late-licence application refused amid police and community concerns about it becoming a shisha cafe.
Mezaziq, in Brackenbury Road, applied to open until 11.30pm between Sunday to Thursday and 2am on Friday and Saturday and to set up an outdoor seating area.
With no interest in applying for an alcohol licence, this led to suspicions about owners looking to set up shisha smoking facilities.
That was coupled with originally wanting to open until 3am throughout the summer and until 5am on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Eid and Ramadan.
But they cut those proposed opening hours after meeting with resident groups in February who voiced their concerns at Hammersmith and Fulham Council's licensing committee meeting on Monday night.
And committee members threw out the application, to the delight of residents, with committee chairman councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler saying the licence would have caused 'public nuisance and crime and disorder'.
“We are very pleased,” said Rosemary Petit, of Brackenbury Road Residents' Association. “There were a number of residents who spoke at the meeting because there was a lot of concern about this application.
“We are all in favour of Mezaziq setting up as a nice, family restaurant but we don't want to see any more shisha cafés set up along Goldhawk Road.”
Robert Jaffe-Pearce, of Brackenbury Road, said: “The area would benefit from a family restaurant but not a late-night shisha lounge that serves a few snacks.”
Mezaziq, based in the former Brackenbury Arms pub, will be allowed to serve food until 11pm.
Borough police are convinced the restaurant was hoping to set up shisha smoking facilities despite never mentioning the traditional Middle Eastern custom in its application.
And PS Stuart Ratcliffe, licensing sergeant in the borough, praised the campaigners for supporting police in their objections.
He said: “Shisha has been identified as a generator of anti-social and nuisance behaviour in this borough.
“Police are of the opinion that the use of a premises for the smoking of shisha does not support the licensing objectives of the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of public nuisance or public safety.
“There were some very vocal residents and their carried a lot of weight in the committee hearing.”
The restaurants falls within the newly-creates 'saturation zone' in Shepherd's Bush which serves to limit the number of licensed shops and bars in the area.
Mezaziq has 21 days to appeal the committee decision at Magistrates Court.
Shisha is smoked through a Hookah water pipe.
The tobacco is heated in the bowl at the top and smoke is filtered through the water in the base.
Flavours include apple, grape, lemon and mint.
Like regular tobacco, shisha contains nicotine.
The tradition dates back 500 years and originated in the Middle East.
A typical one-hour long Hookah smoking session involves inhaling 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled in a single cigarette.