TAO ‘is here to stay’ after licensing decision

TAO in Bognor. Pic Steve Robards SR18001239 SUS-180401-173223001
TAO in Bognor. Pic Steve Robards SR18001239 SUS-180401-173223001

Popular Bognor Regis bar TAO’s licence has been modified by Arun District Council after breaching its conditions multiple times since opening in December.

The high street premises has been visited several times by council officers and Sussex Police between January and April.

The first inspection in January found 15 licence breaches, while a follow-up visit a month later found all 15 breaches still occurring.

Further visits found 11 and nine breaches, while several noise complaints have also been received.

A review of TAO’s premises licence was discussed by the council’s licensing sub-committee last Wednesday.

One of the options available was to suspend the licence, but instead the council has proposed modifications to its conditions.

Reacting to the decision, a statement on the bar’s social media account said: “After five very long days of anxiously waiting to see how the ADC want to move forward regarding TAO’s licence and hours, we are THRILLED to announce that TAO is here to stay.

“Hours will remain the same and the only changes that will be made from here on out are ones that have a positive impact on you, us and our neighbours.

“We will be working closely with the environmental health dept. on the new conditions that have been set regarding noise and food.

“The support has been absolutely monumental and we’d like to once again express our thanks to every single person, business and governing body that has had our back since our doors opened.”

The new conditions mandate that a noise limiting device should be fitted to the sound system and set at a level that is inaudible to the nearest residential property.

Another requirement is for an appropriate noise assessment report to be carried out and ensuing recommendations implemented.

No more than ten customers are permitted to gather outside the front of the premises after 11pm and they must congregate for smoking purposes only.

Meanwhile the kitchen has to be fitted with an appropriate odour extraction system so fried and grilled substantial food can be prepared.

Last week readers flocked to the Observer’s Facebook page to show their support for TAO and the work of its owner Daniel Slade.

One wrote: “Best bar in Bognor Regis. We should be encouraging people of vision like Dan Slade rather than placing hurdles in their way.”

Another reader said: “This place is exactly what Bognor needs to reinvigorate a tired and dilapidated town centre and keep local people spending money in the local area.”

Following the committee meeting, a statement was issued by TAO’s owner to thank residents, the town council and the Business Improvement District team for the support.

The message, posted on the premises’ social media, said: “Just to be clear, all breaches have been addressed and we’re working hard with the ADC to prevent any further issues, and on simply making TAO the best place it can be, for you, for us and for our neighbours.”

It added the team felt ‘incredibly fortunate, grateful and overwhelmed’ by the support it had received: “More than anything this has made us so so proud to have invested in a town (our hometown), that is full of people who are willing to fight for TAO and for a better place. As they say in life… nothing is easy. But who wants nothing?

“Let’s keep fighting for this town, all the new fantastic businesses, and our growing day and night-time economy.”

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