Sunderland’s Fat Buddha set for summer opening despite protests

An Artist's impression of the new development.
An Artist's impression of the new development.
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A £750,000 plan to open the third restaurant in Asian restaurant chain Fat Buddha will bring 47 jobs when it comes to Seaburn this summer.

Parent company Hot Buddha Ltd has now been granted a premises licence to open in Sunderland, alongside its restaurants in Durham City and Newcastle.

Fat Buddha development, Seaburn Promenade.

Fat Buddha development, Seaburn Promenade.

Set to open in August, Fat Buddha will occupy the two-level promenade shelter on Whitburn Road.

Owner Bob Senior says the venue will appeal to families, diners, groups and even dog walkers. It will not be a nightclub, contrary to rumours.

The plans attracted opposition from some Seaburn residents, who said they feared it will encourage rowdy behaviour, binge drinking and noise.

In total, 37 submissions were made opposing the plans, although no statutory body objected to the application. The RNLI also did not object, as had been rumoured.

It sets a dangerous precedent towards it becoming a late-night hot spot

Victoria Murray

Objectors described the 2am alcohol licence as a recipe for disaster, and could lead to a tragedy if drunk punters got too close to the sea.

Victoria Murray said that granting a licence would lead to children being exposed to “raucous behaviour and bad language”, adding: “It sets a dangerous precedent towards it becoming a late-night hot spot.”

Keith Newby said: “You could get an element of tomfoolery going on and that could spoil a good seafront.”

Anne Curtis fears her family will be affected by noise, saying: “I don’t need my nights disrupted by people drinking into the early hours.”

Sunderland City Council’s licencing sub-committee approved the application, but amended the licence hours after Mr Senior offered to close at 1am Monday to Thursday, and 2am on weekends, however he will rarely open past midnight.

Restaurant will be ‘an asset to the coast line’

Fat Buddha owner Bob Senior told the Echo he was pleased with the result and that he hoped those against the plans would come round.

Speaking after the committee’s decision to grant a premises licence, he said:“I feel pleased that we got a common-sense decision.

“However, it is a shame the residents were feeling that we were opening a nightclub, when that is obviously not the case.

“I hope the residents understand that we listened to their concerns and compromised on the closing time.”

Mr Senior, who lives in Boldon with his family, has more than 40 years experience in the industry, previously heading-up Ultimate Leisure.

Seaburn is also close to his heart, having spent each summer there as a child, staying with his grandmother.

Mr Senior added: “Hopefully the residents will see Fat Buddha as an asset to what is, I think, one of the prettiest stretches of coastline in the North East.”