City Wall Wine Bar, Rochester, served with noise reduction order

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A popular wine bar is under threat of closure again after complaints from a nearby resident.

A noise reduction order has been served for the second time on the City Wall in High Street, Rochester.

Bar owner Sanjay Raval

Fired Sanjay Raval says the stress of the situation has him thinking about walking away from the company.

He lodges an appeal against the measures taken by the enforcement agents of the Medway Council.

He said: “I don’t want to go back to court and face a big fine.

“It’s been hard enough for businesses to get through Covid. I just don’t need that stress anymore.”

Mr. Raval, who does not know who the complainant is, says he complied with an injunction to reduce noise issued six years ago.

Sanjay Raval in front of the City Wall <a class=wine bar” data-root=”/_media/img/” data-path=”04URFDJ1GMRLMES5GGAX.jpg” data-ar=”0.75″/>
Sanjay Raval in front of the City Wall wine bar

He put up signs warning that loud music or voices would not be tolerated in the premises he has run for more than 20 years.

Things came to a head in 2018 when the businessman was fined over £4,000 by magistrates for failing to comply with the order.

Together with his lawyers’ fees, the final amount he had to pay was around £20,000.

Mr Raval has been in the licensing business for over 30 years and at the height of his career ran 27 pubs and bars, mostly in Medway – employing 362 people.

The 2008 recession hit hard and he was forced to liquidate his company, Veena Leisure, also based in the High Street.

He then channeled his efforts into the wine bar and built a thriving business.

Sanjay Raval is considering leaving the city wall
Sanjay Raval is considering leaving the city wall

This latest threat has sparked support on social media from thousands of customers who use the wine bar.

Hundreds of people emailed council chief executive Neil Davies and ward councilor Stuart Tranter, who represents the city, with the message “Save the City Wall”.

Mr Raval also fears the council is about to order him to take down a canopy over the outdoor patio.

It was put in place to allow traders to open market stalls after months of lost business during lockdown.

He said he checked with the council, the trading standards and licensing department and got their approval.

Sanjay Raval at the Rising Sun pub, Delce Road, Rochester
Sanjay Raval at the Rising Sun pub, Delce Road, Rochester

He said: “Unfortunately this year we have lost many small shops in the High Street.

“It makes me sad to think that someone would complain when after all we are trying to support the community and small businesses.”

He added: “I have been overwhelmed with the support I have received from customers and staff.”

A recent article drew a lot of comments from supporters.

Some wonder why other venues, some of which have live music, aren’t affected while others argue that if you live on a busy street with a busy night scene, you should expect some noise.

Medway’s board confirmed it was pursuing the case, but would not comment further.

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