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RESTAURANT RAGE: Anger at licencing meeting over Chorleywood venue’s opening hours

 Published on: 22nd March 2024   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Tempers flared at a recent council meeting following a discussion over proposed changes to a Chorleywood restaurant’s opening hours.

A number of local residents attended the Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) Licensing Sub-Committee meeting, held on Tuesday, March 12.

Many opposed Moor Investments’ (MI) application to extend the opening hours at 3-5 Station Approach, which they are currently in the process of converting into a restaurant.

The proposed opening hours are 9am to 1am on Friday and Saturday, and 9am to 12am Sunday to Thursday.

They are also asking for permission to serve alcohol until 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11.30pm for every other day of the week, as well as permission to serve takeaway alcohol.

The application previously included proposals for permission for both live and recorded music, but MI’s legal representative at the meeting, Steven Ross, confirmed to committee members that this request had been withdrawn.

The following week, a decision was made by the licencing committee to approve MI’s application, despite criticism from a number of local residents.

Andrew York told Chorleywood News: “Due to the location of the premises, which is surrounded by residential properties, the noise from the restaurant will cause disturbance and harm to these residents.”

He also expressed concern about the lack of provided parking, the inconsistency of the closing hours with other similar venues in Chorleywood, and the potential for an increase in crime.

MI were unable to attend the meeting, but their legal representative, Mr Ross, attended to answer questions from the committee and councillor Debbie Rosario, the chair of Chorleywood Parish Council (CPC).

As well as concerns over the proposal itself, there is anger regarding the way the application has been handled.

Several residents told Chorleywood News that they had significant concerns about the way the application was advertised in the press, which is a legal requirement for all proposals of this kind.

Mr York stated: “The way that the licence application was advertised may have been legal, but it was certainly not transparent and in keeping with the interests of the Chorleywood residents as they only became aware of this after the period of consultation had ended.”

During the meeting, further tensions flared with clashes between cllr Rosario and the sub-committee over the procedures of the meeting.

Throughout, cllr Rosario was repeatedly told that when asking her questions and making her points, she should stick to the subjects laid out in a set of bullet points sent to TRDC before the meeting began.

In frustration with these reminders, she at one point stated: “I have to say, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t appropriately briefed on how this meeting is being run. When I turned up to the previous meeting, I was told this would be a discussion. That clearly is not the case.”

Responding to her statement, chair of the sub-committee councillor Andrew Scarth, said: “We’ve had a pretty good discussion… you’ve had a fair crack at the whip.”

Mr Shaw also expressed his own concern with the restaurant being repeatedly described as a “nightclub”, something which he states is completely untrue.

At the end of the meeting, when the sub-committee announced that they were retiring to a private chamber to make their decision, tempers truly began to fray, with heckles coming from the public gallery over the way the meeting had been run.

Cllr Scarth did not respond to any comments directed at the sub-committee, telling one individual who spoke up: “That’s not the way this works.”

Several heated exchanges then took place between audience members who came to speak with Mr Shaw.

A spokesperson for TRDC said: “Following a valid representation, the sub-committee heard arguments from both the applicant and CPC at its meeting on March 12. The committee agreed to grant the licence, with conditions.

“The council followed due process and met its statutory obligations in respect of the consultation process of the application. The sub-committee was open to the public to attend and was also live streamed.

“Officers are reviewing whether efforts can be made over and above the statutory consultation process.”

MI have been contacted for comment.

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