The Sekforde: Publican to appeal after council approves new limit of 20 outdoor drinkers amid neighbours’ complaints

PUBLISHED: 08:27 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 12 December 2018

The Sekforde. Picture: The Sekforde

The Sekforde. Picture: The Sekforde


A Clerkenwell publican is planning a court appeal after councillors approved changes to his licence on Tuesday.

The Sekforde  Pub in Clerkenwell at night. Picture: Sekforde ArmsThe Sekforde Pub in Clerkenwell at night. Picture: Sekforde Arms

A Clerkenwell publican is planning a court appeal after councillors approved changes to his licence on Tuesday.

An admin mix-up also meant a former manager was still the official designated premises supervisor until a few days ago – three years after he left. Rob Madigan, now working at a nearby pub, discovered the error after he started receiving complaints about noise at his former business.

After being alerted to the error, Sekforde publican David Lonsdale has updated the council’s records.

The council’s “pollution team” brought a review against the Sekforde Street pub after 31 neighbours complained about noise from outdoor drinking.

The licensing sub committee duly approved suggestions, imposing a maximum capacity of 20 outdoor drinkers, which pub landlord David fears will put him out of business.

He told the Gazette: “I’m going to have to appeal that [the beer garden limit], I can compromise on everything else but condition is completely incompatible with this bar staying open. Let’s see what the magistrates say.

“I just now we can’t be profitable with only 20 drinkers outside in the summer. It’s so disappointing but we will have to battle on.

“I can’t cover the cost of full time staff, business rates and electricity bill if I can only have a handful of drinkers standing outside on a summer evening.”

But the property barrister, who runs annual scholarships to support gifted youngsters in Islington, says his philanthropy is tied up in the pub turning a profit.

“Obviously the profits from the pub fund the scholarships,” he said. “So if the pub is just be without staff or customers then they won’t happen.

“If it was me living in a beautiful Georgian house and 20 evenings a year there were people enjoying themselves – I would accept that as a fair trade off.”

His scholarships include giving £10,000 to struggling Islington students with big plans for bettering the world, and supporting a few South African students through university.

Ahead of the review, there was an outpouring of support from neighbours with 67 sympathetic letters written for the Sekforde.

Meanwhile Rob, who ran the pub when it was owned by Youngs and went by the name Sekforde Arms, told the Gazette: “I was quite surprised to find out the DPS was still in my name.

“I got a bit of abuse from someone: one of our customers was shouting at me saying: ‘There is all kinds of noise going on and you should be in control of it.’

“This is the kind of thing he [David] should know. He would have had a piece of paper with my name on it above the bar because it’s a legal requirement.”

Rob, 50, is now at the nearby The Horseshoe pub in Clerkenwell Close, In an email to him, an officer from Islington’s licencing team said David should have applied to vary the name of the DPS when he left, but also pointed out Rob hadn’t told the council he was leaving either.

David said: “It has been changed. He isn’t DPS any more – I am as of November 20.

“I sent him [Rob] the forms back and either he didn’t receive them or they [the council] didn’t process them. It’s simply that the records didn’t get updated.”

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