Westminster fights defeats

Related tags Law Westminster

Westminster City Council is fighting defeats of its restrictive licensing policy. Westminster has applied for a judicial review (JR) of a judge's...

Westminster City Council is fighting defeats of its restrictive licensing policy.

Westminster has applied for a judicial review (JR) of a judge's decision to overturn the council's restrictions at Movida in Argyll Street.

The venue is in the "stress area", where Westminster will refuse applications for later opening except under "exceptional circumstances".

The council had rejected a bid to vary Movida's licence past 3am but last year a district judge ruled it could sell alcohol until 5am and open until 7am most nights.

The proposed JR is against the new conditions placed during the court hearing. These include restrictions on drinks deals and provision of "substantial refreshment".

Westminster says 11 of the 13 conditions are "unenforceable and, therefore, unlawful", and it was not given the opportunity to comment on the new conditions during the 11-day hearing.

Solicitor Julian Skeens of Jeffrey Green Russell, who represents Movida, said: "They may or may not amend some of the conditions, but I think it's unlikely they would quash the decision."

Council spokesman Peter Large said: "Only three ap-peals relating to premises in stress areas have been upheld out of 380. That [stress areas] policy, coupled with targeted enforcement and a range of other initiatives introduced in cooperation with police, has led to a reduction in violent crime between midnight and 4am of 11% in stress areas.

"Our new licensing policy formally comes into effect this week, and we are sticking by our stress-area policy as it is supported by both the police and the public."

Skeens slated the decision to allow Westminster a second chance for a JR. Judge Mr Justice McCombe said he was "inclined to refuse permission in view of the failure to bring the claim promptly" but "loathe to dismiss summarily a claim brought by an important public authority such as [Westminster]".

Skeens said: "It's a very odd decision to say a particular litigant is more important than another. It's not natural justice."

l Licensing frontline - p16

bar operator wins appeal

Another bar operator has won an appeal against Westminster's "stress areas" policy.

Ferdy Konig, owner of Fudge on Bear Street, had already persuaded Westminster to grant later opening contrary to its stress-zone policy - the bar could sell alcohol until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. Konig had asked to open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays - and these hours have now been granted on appeal in court.

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 was convinced 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." Opening is restricted to 10.30pm on Sundays, not midnight as requested.

Related topics Legislation

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more