Licensing update on Cambridge Circus, 84-86 Charing Cross Road (McDonalds)
McDonalds Cambridge Circus, 84-86 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JA.
After 2 Licensing Committee hearings and 3 days in the Magistrates Court at Appeal, McDonalds at Cambridge Circus will continue to operate until 11pm every day – and not the 1am on Friday and Saturday they had hoped to able to get.
There have been a series of skirmishes on this topic since McDonalds took over the site of Leon de Bruxelles and tried to convince us all that a busy McDonalds would cause less nuisance than a quiet sit-down restaurant. The Licensing Panel at Camden turned down their first application to vary the Licence held by Leon de Bruxelles, after a long hearing in May 2015 at which CGCA and our legal counsel made what we think was a convincing case on behalf of the local community. They then came back in September for another try with an expert witness, but the Panel were not convinced and refused permission to change the layout – which was needed to operate after 11pm when the sale of hot food requires a licence.
McDonalds then appealed this decision to the Magistrates Court. They employed more expert witnesses, and over 3 days in April presented a case to convince the District Judge that the Council were wrong to refuse permission. The CGCA and local residents presented a strong opposing case to support the Council’s decision, and the Judge decided that the Council’s decision was correct and dismissed the appeal. His decision is here.
McDonalds also chose to amend a third application they had already made for a new licence to allow them only to operate until the end of Camden’s ‘Framework Hours’ (until 11:30pm Monday to Thursday and Midnight Friday and Saturday). They stood a good chance of getting this through, but finally chose to withdraw the application. They are therefore remain unlicensed and have to close by 11pm every day.
We expect that they will apply again in the future, but this time for the more limited ‘Framework Hours’. In the meantime local residents should notify Camden and the CGCA if they become aware of any public nuisance or crime issues associated with the McDonalds or its customers.