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Using planning powers to get results for local residents

February 18, 2010

Pappeos club at 169-171 Caledonian Road - loud music through the night

The very word “planning” can cause eyes to glaze over. But the planning system exists to deliver real benefits for residents – providing you have active and determined residents and Councillors determined to make the system work in the public interest and not just to help developers make more money. The way that land is developed is a key to the character of a neighbourhood. And the small details of planning consents are the main levers of influence that residents can rely on to make sure that some business owners do not take liberties.

Caledonian ward councillors, Rupert Perry and Paul Convery have been tough minded members of Islington Council’s west area planning committee since their election in 2006. Paul is the current chair of the committee and Rupert is the most recent past chairman. They have pushed hard to increase the affordable housing in our area but also use their position to make sure that planning control helps residents on a day-to-day basis.

An example has emerged this week which demonstrates how the Borough’s planning powers can be used to prevent abuses by some landowners … providing that the powers are firmly in the hands of people determined to get a result.

There’s an anonymous-looking double-fronted shop unit at 169-171 Caledonian Road which is called Pappeo’s and it turns out to be a venue hosting all-night club gigs. That’s great if you’re a 24 hour clubber. But it’s dreadful if you live anywhere nearby. Residents were outraged last weekend when the place ran a club night until 6am. Loud music with a heavy bass beat disturbed neighbours right through the night. Worse still, the back doors were opened onto Edward Square (a much treasured local park that is fastidiously locked at night) and the entire square was used as a spillout and smoking area for patrons. Quite outrageously their website even says that they have an “outside area” and illustrate this with pictures of the “park facing the back entrance of the club”.The club does not have a back entrance at all. It has an emergency exit into the park.

How can they do any of this? Incredibly, Pappeo’s recently failed to get a normal entertainment and alcohol license but has been able to host these events using a clever legal loophole. This permits them to use a Temporary Event Notice (“TEN”) to run up to 12 events a year. They can operate up to 5am with music, dancing and serve alcohol without going through any of the normal licensing channels or having any limitation on hours. Sadly the Council’s licensing people told residents there was little they could do about it.

Well there is something that can be done about it. The club does not have planning consent to be used like this at all. A planning permission granted in 2002 was to change the former Caledonian Banqueting Rooms “from a club/dance hall/banquetting suite to a cafe/bar”. Furthermore, its hours were restricted with a key condition prohibiting operation after 11.30pm Monday to Sunday.

Frustratingly, neither the Council’s licensing officers nor the police had thought about this. So the Councillors told them. Now an enforcement case has been opened and planning technical officers will visit the club and neighbours in the next few days.

Paul Convery adds: “Do we want to stop people enjoying themselves of an evening? Absolutely not. But it’s completely wrong to cause disturbance until dawn. And it’s unforgiveable to flout planning conditions that were applied precisely to prevent this kind of nuisance. We are pressing the enforcement team to make sure these unacceptable activities cease”.

One Comment leave one →
  1. David Oxnam permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:03 am

    Paul as treasurer of Edward Square I am concerned as you are over the antics going on. Please keep me informed if you require me to line up an Edward Square campaign as they are already trying to abuse the licensing laws



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