Licensing update on the Guinness experience across 5 buildings in Langley Street, Shelton Street & Neal Street

Licensing update

‘The Guinness Experience’ across 4 buildings and yard in Shelton St, Langley St, Neal St & Mercer Walk

April 2022

The final representations made by CGCA can be found here.

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Licence applications have been submitted to Westminster City Council for the development around Old Brewers Yard, Shelton Street, Neal Street, Mercer Walk and Langley Street.  The deadline for comments is 11th April.

(A Planning application has also been submitted subsequently.  Information can be found on our Planning update page here).

The uses proposed for various building areas are:

Part of development Address People seated / standing Existing use Proposed use
Old Brewers Yard 28 Shelton St. 100 / 200 Service yard Public semi open-air bar, open to all.
Langley St basement 5 Langley Street 130 / 250  Bar with entertainment Private events.
Restaurant building 28-32 Shelton St. 337 Offices Restaurant uses and private events, including 6th floor open terrace area.
Brewery building 1 Mercer Walk 220 H&M shop Pre-booked tours & private events with some sale of beer for consumption away from the premises.
Retail shop 15 Neal St. 15  Tea House Sale of beer for consumption away from the premises.
Total people: 802 / 1,022

 

The Licence applications have all been made for the same hours of opening and serving alcohol, which are Westminster’s ‘Core Hours’ of:
Monday-Thursday 10:00-23:30, Friday-Saturday 10:00-00:00 (Midnight), Sunday 10:00-22:30.

The only part of the area which currently has a licence is the basement of 5 Langley Street which was a bar with entertainment (most recently ‘Be At One’) and was able to operate until 01:00.  This licence will be surrendered.

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There are FOUR separate Licence applications for different parts of the development.   CGCA has reviewed them and spoken to a number of affected parties.  We believe that the main issues for residents in the area will be:

  1. the semi open-air Public Bar in Old Brewers Yard for over 200 people, and
  2. the process of dispersal of customers from all parts of the development when they close.

Residents have told us that they would also prefer that some parts of the premises close earlier than others.

This table gives a link to Westminster’s documents for each, and a summary of the position that CGCA proposes to take following local discussions:

Part of development Link & Licence application CGCA proposal for modifications
Old Brewers Yard 22/02734/LIPN Reduce hours.  No vertical drinking after 21:00.  Restrict late exit, to Langley St. only.  Servicing only within Yard.
Langley St basement Restrict late exit, to Langley St. only.
Restaurant building 22/02733/LIPN Reduce closing time of open terrace to 21:00 and add planting to absorb sound.
Brewery building 22/02732/LIPN Reduce hours for sale of alcohol to general public.
Retail shop 22/02731/LIPN No use as bar exit onto Neal St. after 20:00.

 

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If you are concerned at all about any or all of the applications please make an objection to Westminster using the Make a Comment option on the Licensing Register for each application.  Or, if you wish to comment on several applications at once you may find it easier to email licensing@westminster.gov.uk quoting the relevant application number/s.  Any objection/s need to mention which of the Licensing Objectives will be harmed if the licence is granted; in most cases this will be the Prevention of Public Nuisance (ie: noise and disturbance).

It is important that your individual voice is heard.  Even if your views are similar to those expressed by the CGCA you should submit them to Westminster separately.  If CGCA objects with little objection from individual residents, it is less likely that the Council will restrict the licence.

We give detailed rationale for our position below.  However, please contact us via Licensing@CoventGarden.org.uk if you have other points that you would like us to consider.

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Hours & operation

We believe that the hours and mode of operation should be restricted differently in each area.

Old Brewers Yard

A new outdoor bar premises is likely to add to issues already caused by licensed premises in the Shelton Street area.  The sale of alcohol in the semi-open space (currently a service yard) should therefore be staggered with others and end at 22:30, and the area should be clear of customers by 23:00.  The times should be 30 minutes earlier on Sunday.

We believe that 200 people standing up drinking, squeezed into echoey space, will cause a nuisance and that the bar should serve only seated customers after 21:00; the seated capacity of 100 is still a lot.

Restaurant building & Events space

We believe that it is reasonable for the sale of alcohol in the restaurants (currently offices) and for private events in these areas to continue until the hours applied for, subject to dispersal restrictions outlined below, except for the open terrace area on the proposed 6th floor extension to the building.

We intend to object to the upward extension of 2 floors on this building in Shelton Street anyway, but that has to be in an objection the Planning Appplication.  For this Licensing application we believe that any terrace in this location will have an impact on residential units, particularly in Odhams Walk, as noise carries loudly over the roofs.

We suggest that the closing time for the terrace is brought forward to 21:00 in line with the terrace on top of Seven Dials Warehouse, which is a similar distance from Odhams Walk.  And that, in addition to a glass screen shown in the Planning Application, the applicant is required by Licensing to have a scheme of planting on the terrace which will allow sound to be absorbed so that it is not noticeable by residents in Odhams Walk.

Brewery Building

The retail sale of alcohol at the Brewery Building (currently H&M) should cease at 20:00, other than for retail sales to those attending a private event or a pre-booked tour.  There are flats to its West and South.

Retail Shop

The shop on Neal Street (currently the Tea House) has applied to sell alcohol until 21:00, But we believe that it should be accessed only from Old Brewers Yard after 20:00.  The shop also acts as the Neal Street exit and entrance for the bar in the Yard, so we want to avoid large numbers of people leaving the bar straight out into the echoey part of Neal Street underneath Odhams Walk flats at times when children there are in bed.

 

Dispersal

The experience of residents is that the time when customers leave licensed premises is the time when there is the most disturbance.  The applicants’ Operational Management Plan (although not submitted with the Licence applications) shows that they would like to use Shelton Street as the exit after 22:00 for all the operations around Old Brewers Yard.

We are most concerned about the risk that people leaving will then use Neal Street to go to the tube, or to go North, as these routes take them passed the highest number of residents.  We also think that asking large numbers of customers under the influence of alcohol to leave onto the narrow pavements of Shelton Street late in the evening will result in pedestrian/vehicle conflicts and possible injuries.

 

We therefore suggest that the exit from Old Brewers Yard onto Shelton Street is closed at 22:30 (22:00 on Sunday), and that after this time only the exit onto Langley Street is used by customers from the Yard and the Langley Street basement.  The Brewery Building should close its Western exit at the same time.  We will ask for security staff to be present on Langley Street and on Shelton Street, to assist departing customers and to encourage them to be quiet.  On Langley Street we will also ask that they are encouraged to move South towards Long Acre and the tube station rather than North.

Although it is not possible to prevent people using any route they wish to leave the area we believe that this approach will reduce the number of people who will leave in a way which disturbs residents.

 

Servicing

We had previously understood that all deliveries to the Old Brewers Yard parts of the development would be made from the Yard itself.  However, the Transport Plan (which has been submitted only as part of the Planning application) suggests that many deliveries will be made via Langley Street.  We believe that this is inappropriate and unworkable given the existing demands there, and will cause issues across a wider area.  We are proposing that any Licence requires that deliveries are made from within Old Brewers Yard.

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There may be other points about which you are concerned.  If so, please include these in any objection that you submit to Westmister and also let the CGCA know by emailing a copy to licensing@coventgarden.org.uk.

If you live in Westminster you can also ask for assistance in making an objection from the Licensing Advice Project of Westminster Citizen’s Advice.  They can be contacted at licensing@westminstercab.org.uk.  The service is free to use and is independent of the Council.

The Council is not allowed to accept late comments or objections, so they must be submitted by Midnight on 11/04/2022.

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