A "terrible" plan to open a new late-night bar on the same site as one shut down due to violence and drug use has been slammed by residents.

Palm Island Lounge has applied to Brent Council for a licence to play music and serve alcohol until 4am every day on the Harlesden site of the former Vybz Bar.

Vybz's licence was taken away last August after a closure order from the Metropolitan Police was granted following “continuous problems with crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour and violence with injury”.

Palm Island Lounge's new licensee has pledged to be vigilant, but in a statement to the council objecting to the application, a local police sergeant said officers are glad the Craven Park Road bar is now shut because they “don’t get called to serious assaults outside the bar at 5am almost every Saturday and Sunday morning involving its drunken patrons”.

The sergeant added: “In my experience no other venue in the borough has anywhere near such a reputation for serious violence as Vybz Bar.

"Although the name of the proposed licensee and proposed name of the venue has changed, I have every belief that being under the same ownership will lead to the same problems.” 

A statement on behalf of a dozen local residents called on the council to refuse the application, blasting the "terrible” idea to reopen the site and suggesting it “can’t possibly be legal in a residential area”. 

It added: “When the bar […] was open in the past it was horrifically noisy. Not only was the music unbearably loud until the early hours of the morning, this was always accompanied by drunken shouting, swearing, and brawls. Every single night.”

A councillor for Harlesden and Kensal Green, Cllr Jumbo Chan, has also submitted a letter of objection to the council’s licensing and entertainment sub-committee over the plan. He said: “It seems to me that the closure of the previous premise at the same location has resulted in some much-needed reduction in anti-social behaviour, and hence has made the immediate vicinity safer, cleaner and more pleasant.”

He added: “I fear that if a new premise licence is granted […] there will be an increase in anti-social behaviour, and hence disrupt the lives and livelihoods of both local residents and businesses.” Cllr Chan also highlighted that a rear extension, known as the ‘lounge area’, doesn’t have planning permission. 

The applicant, Kingsley Adjel, explains that he shouldn’t be held responsible for the previous issues as he was not involved with the premises at that time and addressed some of the other concerns raised.

Mr Adjel said: “I want to be clear that I […] have no connections to or affiliation with Vybz Bar. I am aware of all the issues raised regarding the previous owners’ lack of concern for customers and their lack of adequate security to maintain tranquillity and order at the premises.”

He added: “If a licence to operate until 4am is granted, the public, the police and the company will all benefit. Craven Park appears to have a bad reputation in Harlesden, but if given the chance, I would like to be the one to make a good difference.

“Customers will be thoroughly searched for sharp objects and illicit substances before entering the premises. […] If such things are found, we will refuse entry. So therefore my business will not entertain such behaviours.”

A decision on whether to grant the the new licence will be made by the council on June 7, but council officers have recommended it be rejected under the grounds of it not meeting the four licensing objectives – the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, and the protection of children from harm.