Chorion is claiming a significant victory in its long-running battle against Westminster City Council over late-night opening.
The council came under heavy fire from the trade earlier this year after it placed a ban on new late licences in key areas of the West End and threatened to review the opening hours at existing outlets - an issue which could have a knock-on effect for many licensees over the country.
But operator Chorion, which has a number of late-night bars and clubs in the area, including Tiger Tiger in Piccadilly, was last week awarded costs in the latest round of its court battle against the move.
The pub and club operator had objected to the wording used by the council in its licensing policy, which suggested that opening hours could be restricted if a licensee applied for a variation or renewal of the licence.
Westminster council said the wording had now been amended.
The latest ruling follows a lengthy battle with the council to secure a 3am licence for its club Loop, in London's Hanover Square, which it bought last year.
Chorion's chief executive, Nick Tamblyn, said: "The fact that Chorion has been awarded costs against Westminster indicates a significant defeat for the council and clearly signifies that Chorion had every right to take this matter to judicial review."
But a spokeswoman for Westminster council said: "We are just trying to strike a balance between the needs of the business community and residents. Our policy has not changed. No current licences will be affected.
"We are disappointed that we have been asked to pay costs. We will be reviewing our position now and will consider whether to take this to appeal."
Westminster Council hits back at licensing criticisms (03 September 2001)
Westminster licensees join forces to have say in local policy decisions (14 August 2001)