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Licensing archive...

Most of the applications seen are variations to the terms of existing licences, however, longer opening hours increase the impact of their customers on residents in the area. RCAS continues to help resist damaging changes.

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August 2009

Most of the applications we see are for variations to the terms of existing licences. The economic situation has kept these coming during the last year, as owners and new managements compete for trade and demonstrating the resilience of this industry.  


We studied 8 applications during the year. The one for a night club in the ABC Whiteladies Cinema was withdrawn, no doubt in part because of the 40 plus individual objections that were lodged.


Of the other ones in the Whiteladies Road/ Cotham Hill ‘cumulative impact zone’ only two have required us to attend and present our case at the Committee Hearing. In both cases, BSB (formerly H J Bean) and Sasparilla (formerly Henry Africa’s) later hours for alcohol sales were refused by the Committee. We hope this firm line will be maintained as it is the post midnight hours that cause particular noise and nuisance to residents in this part of our area.


We judged that the other 5 applications would not cause problems, with some applicants   agreeing in advance to conditions on aspects that concerned us.


However, all is not sweetness and light! Irresponsible drink promotions and cavalier use of our pavements by some bars have continued. Some takeaways are open as late as 4am. This attracts additional and often rowdy customers to our streets. We have been unable to persuade the Licensing Committee that nuisance from these can be greater than from bars.


There have been real issues over the operation of Platform 1 nightclub. Excessive noise from their music seems to have been eventually reduced by Pollution Control officers after weekly records of nuisance supplied by two very active members of RCAS. However the street noise and disorder, including shouting and screaming, vandalism, urination etc continues. Wednesday ‘student nights’ have been particularly troublesome during term time. Problems have been reported by email to the Police and Licensing on a weekly basis. Despite this and evidence of trading outside permitted hours Police enforcement action has been limited to a ‘caution’.


Objections by residents to damaging licence applications remain extremely important. We now issue email alerts to those we know are interested, so please let me know if you would like to be added to the list.


We commend the determined few who attend hearings, and thank the Cotham councillors for their support.

January 2009

Since the last Newsletter there has been a surge in applications for longer hours and easier licence conditions. As times get harder we must expect that owners will try to wring more alcohol sales out of their bars and pubs, no doubt pleading the virtues of  ‘economic activity’ in the current recession. Unfortunately this is usually at the expense of local residents and we hope residents will continue to object. After all, a Premises Licence is for life and not just for the recession!

Takeaways can be a major generator of for noise, ASB and litter. We are very concerned that the Licensing Committee granted much later hours for Benny’s Chicken in Cotham Hill despite over 20 strong objections from local residents. In our view Councillors are operating the Council’s Licensing policy to favour operators interests above that of local citizens. 

Whiteladies Road area.  RCAS, other Societies and many local residents are objecting to an application to convert the former ABC Cinema into a large, late opening, cafe bar and club to be called ‘Vanity’. This would bring more of the noise and other anti social behaviour of the city centre club scene into our streets. This application is likely to go before the Licensing Committee, probably in early February. We hope residents will be present en masse!

There have been a significant number of individual objections to the Licensing application following our alert. The application will be decided by a Licensing Committee at a public Hearing, probably on 5th February. Objectors will receive the details by letter from Licensing. It is hoped that a good number will attend – let me know if you are planning to go.

The Licence application and plans have been examined. They are confusing but it is clear that the activities proposed - eating, drinking, live music, recorded music (DJ) and dancing, include all the elements of a nightclub. Combined with the hours sought - to 4am, it is hard to imagine a more damaging use for the old cinema. Although we would like to see 'The Whiteladies' repaired and back in use this cannot be at the price of major nuisance for residents

Following the receivership of H J Bean the Premises Licence has been taken up by BSB bars. They have applied to open till 2am, two hours later. OBJECTING.

Henry Africa is now Sasparilla. This is presumably the Bristol spelling of sarsparilla, the South American tonic drink.

Elsewhere, we objected to changes at Moreish, Chandos Rd, which would allow more drinking without food. Most of the changes were approved but there is now a condition restricting eating or drinking on the terrace to 10.30pm. But this does not stop its use by non-eating or drinking smokers!

Also, The Shakespeare sought later opening hours. Robust objections by local residents ensured that very limited extra hours were permitted, and there is to be no use of outside areas after 10pm.

We know that many residents are concerned about the ‘night time economy’. Few make their complaints public. We are grateful to those who do, and especially those who attend Hearings.

September 2008

A fairly quiet year on the Licensing front, with recently more premises closing than opening! However, as premises compete for trade in competitive times we can expect some pressure on the conditions of Premises Licenses, for example opening hours.


In view of recent reports by police and hospitals of increased late night alcohol related problems we hope the Licensing Committee will take a firm line. We also hope that  extended ‘happy hours’ and other cost based promotions will be strongly discouraged, though this needs Government action. The more alcohol sold and the later the hours the more nearby residents suffer the downside of noise and ASB.


Recently Jersey Lily and Highbury Vaults obtained slightly longer hours but tougher conditions on use of outdoor areas were imposed following representations by residents and RCAS.


The Licensing Committee recognises that smokers outside pubs and bars are a potential noise problem. However as smoking is not (yet!) a ‘licensable activity’ this cannot be controlled like alcohol sales.


The Police are currently seeking more Cumulative Impact Zones, like ‘The Strip, Whiteladies Rd, where a CIZ has been in place since 2005, having been proposed by RCAS and supported by the police. This has made it somewhat easier to resist new bars etc and longer trading hours. One of the CIZ now proposed covers Cheltenham Road / part Gloucester Rd, on our borders, so we will be supporting this initiative of the police..


We remind members to keep an eye on notices on premises. As long as we know that residents are also objecting RCAS will continue to study and object to applications. In doing this it is very helpful that Bob Chambers, representing St.John’s Road Residents Association takes similar action over applications in Whiteladies Road.

Earlier reports

Previous reports...

May now be found in the Archive Documents section of this website