The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's decision to alter the premises licence of a nightclub on Lots Road/King's Road was upheld by Hammersmith Magistrates Court on Tuesday 15 May 2012.
Public, a nightclub just off the prestigious King's Road, was ordered to pay over £76,000 in costs as District Judge, Susan Williams, found that `None of the evidence put before me has persuaded me that the residents of Westfield Close or those residents in King's Road who have testified in this appeal, are no longer subject to nuisance and disorder'.
Councillor Christopher Buckmaster, Licensing Committee Chairman, said: "I hope this sends a clear message to all operators in the borough that we will seek to defend our residents. Nightclub operators have a duty to be responsible and to permit their neighbours to sleep at night.
"Costs of £76,825 are unique in my licensing experience. I hope the residents, from all walks of life, whose lives have been blighted by noise and nuisance from Public will be able to enjoy the area again now.
"What is distressing is the length of time this has taken to come to court. It is almost exactly 12 months since the original decision of the Licensing Committee and during this time Public has been allowed to continue to operate and to disturb its neighbours. The law should be changed so that decisions of the Licensing Committee have immediate effect, subject to appeal."
The Council's case was based on concerns raised by residents, the police, ward Councillors and the Council's own Environmental Health Officers.
Residents were being disturbed by the noise caused by customers who were talking loudly and screaming while queuing to enter the club or on leaving the club. They were also blocking the pavement.
The police's concerns included the increase in drunken behaviour on the streets in the area of Public and an increase in the number of people from Public having to be treated by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, suffering from alcohol related problems and, in some cases, even fighting in the hospital.
The Council's Environmental Health Officers had issues with the noise that residents near to Public had to put up with late at night. Other Council officers also had concerns over the significant number of complaints received from residents in the area around Public.
Following a number of complaints from residents since the granting of a licence to Public, a formal request was made to review its licence in March 2011 which resulted in the Licensing Committee deciding in May 2011 to alter the licence so that Public would have to close at midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, rather than 2.30am as previously.
Public appealed on the basis that the decision of the Licensing Committee was wrong and that the noise created was caused by other licensed premises in the area. Only shortly before the start of the hearing in December 2011 did the premises change its stance and contend that whilst there had been problems in the past they had made a number of improvements since the hearing. The District Judge acknowledged some improvements have been made but found that the premises was still causing a nuisance to local residents.