Neighbours fear tech professionals ‘causing chaos’ if City Road office gets booze licence

Monmouth House in City Road. Picture: Google Street View

Monmouth House in City Road. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Neighbours of an office block in one of Islington’s main party zones are scared of tech and startup professionals going on the rampage if their workplace is given an alcohol licence.

Runway East, which provides office space for “innovators and entrepreneurs” in its City Road block, has applied for a weekday booze licence so alcohol can be sold at meetings and conferences up until 11.45pm.

But with its location right on Islington’s border with the City and Shoreditch, council papers show neighbours are enraged at the prospect of yet another licensed venue in a prime nightspot.

One pointed to regular fighting in the street, stabbings with broken glass bottles, used condom wrappers left on the pavement and even historical tombstones being vandalised in Bunhill Fields.

Another complaint read: “There are frequent disturbances from people leaving licenced venues. The level of disorderly behaviour is enough.”

Meanwhile, neighbours have also accused Runway East of trying to “monetise” the offices, inside a block called Monmouth House, before it is demolished.

The site will eventually become four office blocks, with one 11 storeys high, after previous mayor of London Boris Johnson overruled Islington Council to grant the development.

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And a protester said: “Given the impending demolition, this application is a short-term licence. The patron, like all the others that have failed in the area, will just be interested in maximising the short-term financial gain and will have no incentive to deal with the violence, mess and chaos they will inflict.”

But Licensing Lawyers, representing Runway East, said: “The application relates to what is effectively an office, providing services for business customers. The office is accessed through a security barrier and there is a security guard on duty.

“The concept is that alcohol is intended to be sold at business meetings, conferences, exhibitions, seminars and the like. In all cases, the premises are not open to the general public so that anyone can walk in off the street and purchase. Alcohol will not be sold continuously, just on those occasions that demand it.”

Islington Council’s licensing sub-committee will make a decision on Tuesday.