Fudge bar overcomes West End blanket ban

August 2007

Live event industry

A landmark licensing case has seen a London bar granted extended hours in the West End stress area. Fudge, just off London’s inconic Leicester Square, was granted a licence until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, following an appeal to Westminster Magistrates Court. Westminster City Council operates the policy, similar to a cumulative impact policy, under the Licensing Act 2003, meaning that any application for a new licence or variation are usually rejected, unless there are “exceptional” circumstances. Under the terms of the policy, pubs and bar are limited to opening only during “core hours” – until 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 11pm Mondays to Thursdays and 10pm on Sundays. The decision is believed to be the first to over turn this policy. Among the reasons for magistrates granting the application were a low level of residents in the area and a voluntary reduction of the venue’s capacity. The bar had applied for extended hours during the week and a 2am licence for Fridays and Saturdays, but was eventually offered 1am. The Council added that the applicants had agreed to a number of conditions that addressed the underlying reasons for the Stress Area. The extended hours were granted on this basis as a recognised exception to policy. The Council highlighted the fact that there is private entertainment at the venue and the bar’s overall capacity has been set for the first time. This is 110 persons (including staff) with a minimum of 70 seated places. Poppleston Allen acted for Fudge in the case. http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=55940&c=1

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