Landmark licence granted in cumulative impact zone

By Liam Coleman

- Last updated on GMT

Unique licence: The drinks can be drunk both on and off site
Unique licence: The drinks can be drunk both on and off site

Related tags Craft beer London borough of tower hamlets Spitalfields

A craft beer shop in East London's cumulative impact zone has been granted a milestone licence for on and off-trade sales.

Kill The Cat on Brick Lane, which was opened by Phil Curl and his business partner Wes Anson in November, was given the licence after 18 months of planning and legal negotiations with licensing sub-committees.

The craft beer shop is a hybrid of an on and off-licensed premises. Bottles of craft beer can be bought to be taken away, but they are also all refrigerated and can be enjoyed in the tasting room that is a part of the site.

The site that Cat Industries, the company behind Kill The Cat, took over was already licensed for on-site sales. However, by being granted a licence for off sales as well it became the first of its kind in the three years that the cumulative impact zone has been operating in Brick Lane.

Initial meetings

Cat Industries had met with the Spitalfields Community Group's licensing committee SPIRE and eased their concerns about the site before the application was even submitted to Tower Hamlets Council licensing committee for consideration.

Jack Spiegler from specialist law firm Thomas & Thomas Partners LLP helped Cat Industries with the licence application and believes the craft beer company's diplomacy was key to securing the licence.

"It was very unusual for residents’ groups to not object. That is because they [Cat Industries] were so diligent in consulting with them and also making the residents realise that this was something entirely different to what you would historically consider an off-sales site on Brick Lane. That meant it could be the catalyst for positive change in that area," Spiegler told The Morning Advertiser​.

'We followed the right paths'

By the time the application was ready to present to the council licensing committee, only one resident offered representation objecting to the licence being granted. Yet documents seen by The Morning Advertiser​ show the lengths Cat Industries were willing to go to to ensure there would be no hurdles in their application.

Cat Industries was sent a copy of the local resident’s representation detailing the reasons for his opposition to the plans, as is customary. Seeing that the resident’s concerns specifically related to the number of people who would be drinking alcohol on site at any one time and that customers might be drinking on the street outside the venue, Curl from Cat Industries sought to ease concerns by reaching out to the resident. The result was that the representation was withdrawn.

"We are incredibly proud of the way we went about it," Curl said.

"We engaged with the local community and had in-depth and regular consultation with the police and the council to essentially demonstrate that our concept was a positive thing.

"We showed that we had a unique concept and wouldn't be selling cheap cut-price alcohol and throwing people out on the streets late at night.

"It was a long process which a lot of work went into, but we followed the right paths to do our best to appease concerned parties. As a result of doing that, it enabled us to ultimately portray to councillors that what we were doing was very different to the standard model."

Related topics Licensing law

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