New Walthamstow bar opening despite legal agreementNeighbours believed the space 'would never and could never' become a bar
A new bar is opening near St James Station in Walthamstow in a space its neighbours believed “would never and could never” be used to sell alcohol.
Waltham Forest Council decided this week to allow a bar to open at 2 Station Road until 10.30pm on weeknights and 11.30pm on weekends.
While opposed residents insisted the building was subject to a legal agreement preventing it being used as a bar, council officers insisted this could not be used as a reason to refuse.
In written representations to the licensing committee, neighbours said they had bought or moved into their flats on the understanding there would never be a bar there.
The space was a Harrison's earlier this year (Google Streetview)
Lucy Kelly, who lives above the space, wrote: “I would have been extremely unlikely to choose this as a residence with a license premises below because there will undoubtedly be noise.
“This is a residential block, cheaply built, which has thin walls and floors. I myself am a teacher and, due to an early work start time, usually go to bed around 10 or 10.30pm… I am concerned [this] will make it difficult for me to sleep.
“I am very much opposed to this license being granted as I believe it will significantly affect the quality of life for all residential tenants in the building.”
Another neighbour, Asim Bajw, wrote: “All flats here were sold on the understanding that this would never and could never happen.
“The area generally is already subject to a much-increased volume of sound from a number of recently licensed premises and one built directly underneath residential flats would cause an intolerable intrusion into mine and other families’ lives.”
In a report prepared for the committee, council officers wrote that the “written restrictive covenant” against the building becoming a bar “cannot be considered” by councillors as it “does not relate to any of the four licensing objectives”.
Applicant Ross Butler, who owns numerous venues, insisted at a licensing meeting earlier this month that he was “well-experienced in making sure” his businesses did not impact neighbours.
He told the committee: “If we need to restrict times and noise levels, I am 100% happy to do that. I do not see that we should be rejecting an alcohol license because there’s already plenty [of venues nearby].”
While he originally applied to open as late as midnight on weekends, these opening hours were reduced by the licensing committee as a compromise with neighbours.
Explaining the committee’s decision, officers wrote that councillors were “satisfied that the applicant was professional” and “would listen to and work with the residents”.
They added: “The committee noted [neighbours’] concerns in regard to their children’s sleeping times, crime in the area and also anti-social behaviour.
“However, the committee was satisfied that by granting the application in part, with conditions ,this would be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives.”
Conditions placed on the license include ensuring that “no music or other noise” from the bar can be heard in any neighbouring homes.