A seaside street food hall in one of Norfolk’s tourist hotspots has had its licence approved, despite fears the owner was setting up a nightclub by “stealth”. 

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has unanimously approved an alcohol licence for a new 168-seater restaurant above The Pop Inn cafe and arcade in Wells. 

The building  - which is Grade II listed - stands on the corner of Freeman Street and Beach Road, at the western corner of the harbour. 

The owner, Stephen Brundle, told NNDC's licensing committee that the venue would be a food hall, similar to Yalm in Norwich.  

Ahead of Tuesday’s licensing committee meeting, seven locals wrote objections to the scheme, but three were later withdrawn. 

Bob Lyddon, who lives “about 100 yards” from the Pop Inn addressed councillors urging them to reject the scheme - raising fears that the venue could easily become a nightclub or takeaway. 

Eastern Daily Press: A new restaurant has been given the go-ahead beside Wells HarbourA new restaurant has been given the go-ahead beside Wells Harbour (Image: Ian Burt)

He said: “Planning permission was originally granted for the development of Pop Inn as a large-capacity ‘family restaurant'.  

“The application for the licence puts that in a different light and makes it appear to be part of a stealthy step-by-step approach to setting up a nightclub/party venue.” 

But Mr Brundle insisted that was not the case. 

He said: “This is not a late-night entertainment place, I’m far too old to be running nightclubs and everything else that seems to be the gossip going around the town. That is not the case at all. This is an area selling food. 

“Many people in Wells struggle to find food to eat, there’s a couple of pubs, one independent, it's all very similar food.” 

He also insisted that the request to be allowed to play music would not lead to large, noisy bands.  

The application was approved with conditions.