On the Rocks: Council meeting update

This is to update you on what transpired at the Council meeting at the beginning of the month. The Application was for an extended opening hours licence for music until 0600. First of all, there were objections from Council Officers from Hackney’s Planning and Noise Enforcement Depts:

Planning: queried whether the Applicant would have to apply for change of use to a Nightclub Licence as entertainment was offered and there were frequent entry charges; this would have to be done before any extended licence could be applied for.

Noise Enforcement: objected on the basis of noise pollution as music was clearly audible by residential premises. The Officer suggested that a detailed Noise Report should be commissioned by an independent and competent consultant, as the Noise Report submitted by the Applicant was not a professional report undertaken by a such a consultant.

Interested Parties:

Melanie Osborne spoke first on behalf of PWFL to say:
1. that PW security was compromised by extending the Licence;
2. that PW had 50 businesses and some 400 people working on site, who had a right to safe working conditions, 24 hours a day;
3. that these businesses had been regenerating the area for over 20 years, and were contributing substantially to the economy and to local employment opportunities in Hackney at least equal to or greater than that of the Night Time Economy in Shoreditch;
4. that Councillors should consider the small business voice in the area, and not just attend to the late night economy.

Other objections from interested parties:

1. Huge increase in crime in the area (SSCA);
2. No public infrastructure to deal with the amount of people at late hours;
3. Significant Noise Pollution;
4. Breaching of all four conditions of the Licensing Act;
5. No attempt had been made by the Applicant to negotiate with their neighbours – whether SSCA or PW – or engage or establish a dialogue with the local community (Johnathan McShane, Councillor Haggerstone Ward);
6. Inadequate police resources to deal numbers of people in the area at night and criminal activity.

The Concillors at the Hearing questioned the applicant on all of these points. At one point the chair (Councillor Alan Laing – Hackney Central) asked the Applicants what their capacity was. The Applicants answered that it was 250. Alan Laing then asked the Applicants what was the capacity detailed in their Fire Risk Assessment. The Applicant answered that it was 220. Unsurprisingly, much was made of this…..

The Application was rejected at the Hearing because it breached much of the Licencing Act (these will be written up and published by the Council). It was also rejected because the Councillors at the Hearing had no confidence in the management of On the Rocks in terms of noise, adherance to the law, noise, nuisance and consideration for impact on the local community.