PLANS for a new restaurant and cocktail bar in the centre of Southampton have sparked a flurry of objections.

A licensing application submitted by Gin and Olive is being opposed by police and people living nearby - largely because the proposed new venue will be open until the early hours.

Members of the city council are meeting next week to decide whether to grant a premises licence.

The objection lodged by police says: "The premises has had a licence in the past. However, this application requests later hours and a later last entry of 01.30am.

"If granted, this will see an increase in crime and disorder in an already busy night-time economy area."

The application relates to one of the units at the Arts Complex, a building in Above Bar Street that forms part of the city's cultural quarter.

People living in neighbouring flats are worried about noise and anti-social behaviour and are urging the council to refuse a licence.

One letter of objection says: "This is not an area which is heavily policed and it is not a section of the city centre with an established nightlife.

"Extended licensing hours would almost by definition increase the proportion of people leaving the venue in drink in the early hours.

"Other areas of the city have closing times of 11 pm or midnight, respecting local residents."

But the application has also sparked several letters of support, including some from people who use the Southsea branch of Gin and Olive.

One customer says: "They always have such an amazing peaceful atmosphere."

Another adds: "It is one of my favourite residents in Portsmouth and I can't wait to have one close to work. Always a beautiful relaxed atmosphere with polite and friendly staff."

Gin and Olive's application says the venue will provide Southampton with a "unique dining and drinking experience".

It adds: "Once the kitchen closes at 11pm the premises will become a place for people to enjoy a gin, cocktail, or one of our other spirits in a high-end venue with melodic music."

Gin and Olive's application will be discussed by the council's licensing and gambling sub-committee next Wednesday.

One of the documents submitted in support of the application says: "The Arts Complex was not built primarily as a residential building.

"It is, and always has been, a mixed use development with a theatre, art gallery and seven bars and restaurants."