The decision on the restaurant’s 4:00 o’clock plan was suspended to give the owners time to install fire alarms

The owners of De Vibez Lounge in Cape Hill, Smethwick, have asked to extend their opening hours as well as sell alcohol and play music until the early hours.

Sandwell Council held a licensing hearing on the application.

But councilors agreed to give the restaurant more time after being told work had begun to install fire safety equipment.

The council’s licensing committee met in Oldbury on June 5 and was expected to make a decision on the application.

The hearing came after West Midlands Fire Service raised an objection which said its safety officers found no alarms or fire detectors when they visited the Cape Hill restaurant.

The African restaurant opened in the former Sampson Lloyd pub last December and recently applied for a license to open until 4am at weekends. The application also seeks permission to sell alcohol between 11am and 11.30pm Monday to Thursday and 11am and 11.30pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The venue also wants to play recorded music between 11am and midnight on weekdays and 11am and 4am on weekends.

Proposed hours are 11:00 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

The fire service said an alarm system had to be installed and artificial plants removed “as a minimum” before the objection could be lifted.

The fire service also said the applicant failed to attend a planned visit and a phone number provided “appeared to be incorrect”.

The fire service said records showed the restaurant “may not have been accepted under a building regulations application for public use”.

“The premises may also require planning and listed building consent,” the fire service added. “The records also indicate that some fire safety concerns previously raised by (Sandwell Council) may not have been fully addressed.

“The premises will have to be equipped with adequate automatic and manual fire detection and alarm system,” said the fire safety officer. “Flammable artificial plants should be removed from the walls and from the floors, walls and ceilings of both hallways.”

The former Wetherspoons pub on the corner of Cape Hill and Waterloo Road has been empty for several years after the budget chain left in 2014.

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