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Manager of City Wall Wine Bar in Rochester quits

By Nicola Jordan

One of Rochester's most popular licensees is calling time because he is fed up with run-ins with Medway Council which has cost him thousands in legal fees.

Sanjay Raval, who has run the City Wall Wine Bar for nearly 20 years, has decided to leave after a long-running dispute about loud music.

There have also been complaints about customers talking loudly on the patio to the side of the popular venue.

Sanjay Raval, owner of the City Wall Wine Bar in High Street, Rochester
Sanjay Raval, owner of the City Wall Wine Bar in High Street, Rochester

Matters came to a head last month when Mr Raval was fined more than £4,000 by Medway magistrates for failing to comply with a noise abatement order.

With his solicitors’ costs, the final amount he had to pay out because of the case was about £20,000.

Mr Raval, who also manages the Rising Sun in Delce Road, Rochester, said: “Enough is enough. You can’t run a business like this.

“It is massively sad. I have made a lot of friends here and I’m very fond of the High Street.”

Mr Raval said that after the court case brought by Medway Council’s environmental protection team, he mulled over his future but eventually decided to quit after a career in the licensing trade spanning several decades.

He said: “I don’t really know what I am going to do. I plan to take some time out and perhaps go travelling.”

"Enough is enough... you can't run a business like this" - Sanjay Raval

Mr Raval added that his workforce of about 30 people including DJs and door staff, would be offered alternative employment.

The 50-year-old, who lives in Almond Grove, Hempstead, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an abatement notice for loud amplified music and bass.

Medway Council told the court the council had received numerous complaints spanning from July 2013 to July 2017 regarding noise coming from the premises.

Despite undertaking steps to deal with the nuisance, the council continued to receive complaints from members of the public.

His solicitor Colin Pope told the hearing that the wine bar was in a very busy High Street with a night-time economy.

Live music was played at the pub next door and the Casino Rooms opposite attracted thousands of clubbers.

He added that no complaints has been made since at least November, which showed his client had taken steps in the right direction.

Magistrates fined him £2,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £2,000 and a victim surcharge of £175.

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