Defeat for Westminster's pub Stress Zone

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Appeal Westminster city council West end of london Law

Defeat for Westminster's pub Stress Zone
Another bar operator has won an appeal against the council's controversial policy of restricting open hours in busy areas

Another bar operator has won an appeal against Westminster City Council's controversial policy of restricting open hours in busy areas.

Ferdy Konig, owner of Fudge on Bear Street, had already won an appeal against restricted opening hours in June 2007, when magistrates ruled the bar could sell alcohol until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Konig had asked to open until 1am on Thursdays, 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and midnight on other days - and these hours have now been granted on a second appeal.

Fudge is in Westminster's "West End Stress Area"​, where the council says it will refuse applications for later opening unless there are "exceptional circumstances"​.

Konig's solicitor James Anderson, of Poppleston Allen, said: "One of the main grounds for appeal was based on the fact that initially, the Licensing Committee were convinced that there were exceptional circumstances, such that 1am on Friday and Saturday would not adversely affect the cumulative impact.

"But there was no other evidence before that Committee that justified not granting the application in full. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Committee decided that to grant until 1am would be an exception, but to grant until 2am would not."

Magistrates heard there were no objections to extending the hours from residents and there were no incidents of disorder at the premises. The bar is also different from others in the area as there is no dancing and occupancy is limited to 110.

Anderson added: "It's a brave operator, particularly of the independent variety, that takes on Westminster on appeal because very few - in fact I can only think of two, Movida and Zebrano - have enjoyed success before the Magistrates on appeal.

"Fudge presented a unique case because there had not been a refusal of the application in full, but a refusal in part only.

"I have to say that the task of making an application in the Stress Area is still a difficult one, but at least it is possible for some deserving operators to be able to develop their business and, we believe, have a beneficial effect on the area generally."

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