Bowie-inspired bar in Finsbury Park faces opposition
Ed Sheridan, LDRS
- Credit: Telford Homes
Councillors have moved to curb the opening hours of a bar named after a classic David Bowie album in the City North development following “significant concerns” from the council’s noise officers.
Station to Station had hoped to open its doors to up till 3am in the unit next to Finsbury Park station itself, stressing that its food offer and reputable operators would guard against adding to anti-social behaviour in the area.
However, with residents raising concerns over the late hours and their impact on families in the block directly above, Islington councillors have allowed opening hours of up to half midnight at the latest.
Representing the venue, lawyer Sarah Clover said: “These are very, very experienced operators, well-known in the locality. They care about the community and have 30 years of experience. The responsible authorities say they work very well with them. These are the operators you want here in this particular unit – there are not any better.
“It is mixed-use, modern, sensitive to its locality, and very different to the other types of premises that are in that place. You have a major mixed-use development here which was deliberately granted with licensed premises in it. That makes a difference when you come to look at cumulative impact – the whole of the development is predicated on residential and mixed use. You’ve got restaurants, cafes and bars.
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“This is a modern recently-granted major planning permission. The conditions run to several volumes, and require the developer to submit all sorts of different acoustic details before any of these properties can be used or occupied. The level of acoustic mitigation built into these buildings is beyond supreme already.”
Station to Station is announcing itself as the type of venue “normally only found in the edgier and trendier parts of London,” with its name referencing Bowie’s Thin White Duke-years work linking the bar to “themes of innovation, direction transition…[linking] perfectly to the similar changes occurring with the redevelopment at Finsbury Park.”
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Clover further argued that there is a concrete slab sitting over the unit, making noise nuisance to residents unlikely, who, she said, would have been aware of the nature of the mixed-use development when they moved in, with the local economy “desperately needing” the £1.2m investment put into the unit by the venue.
Neighbour Rachel May said: “I am really disappointed at the applicants about addressing the nuisance and potential policing issues. I don’t think any of them have been covered. The venue is directly below a ten-floor resident block. We are talking about potentially 200 flats that could hear the noise.
“Even though they say in the application they have an acoustic consultant, none of the residents were ever contacted about this. When I purchased the flat, there was no mention of having a pub, otherwise I would have thought about it. I was told it would maybe a restaurant.
“Some of the properties here are social housing, two or three bedroom houses with families and children. These are really anti-social hours. We all know Finsbury Park has problems in terms of safety. Recently there was increased policing around the station area because of mugging. If you are going to serve alcohol till 2 or 3am, this is beyond reasonable.”
Clover argued that the “positive active frontage” of Station to Station with its door security could be a crime deterrent, adding that nobody wanted “dark closed frontages where people can lurk and do things they should not be doing.”
Other venues by applicant Michael Nicholas include the Adam and Eve in Homerton, Shoreditch’s the Three Crowns, and the Moth Club in Hackney Central.
Police licensing officer Adam Peace said Nicholas’ operation and experience allowed the force to support hours slightly beyond those allowed for in policy, before adding: “It might be we could seek to confirm up to nine months’ of safe and competent operation and then look to enhance those hours.
“I’m well aware that this as been a challenging time and everyone wants to get operational and profitable. At the moment while we feel we can support a slight flex beyond the local authority’s hours, but not those applied for.”