Making a cinema fit Eltham not the other way round

This afternoon I was privileged to be invited to a meeting of a group of residents from Roper Street off of Eltham High Street.  The meeting was to discuss the licensing application submitted recently by Vue Cinemas for the cinema which we all desperately want on Eltham High Street.

As the Council now limits how many people can actually see licensing applications to quite a small radius around the venue, I’m not sure how many people are aware that Vue have submitted an application to be able to serve alcohol and food for the following times:

  • Sale & Supply of Alcohol (On-Sales only): From 08:00 hours until 02:30 the following day, daily;
  • Performance of Plays, Live Music and Recorded Music: From 08:00 hours until 03:00 the following day, daily;
  • Exhibition of Films: Daily, 24 hours a day – in line with opening hours;
  • Provision of Late Night Refreshment: From 23:00 hours until 05:00 the following day, daily

For me there are a number of aspects to this which I simply cannot support as they seem to me to seek to change completely the way Eltham High Street will be used.

  1. Selling alcohol till 2.30am in the morning every day – given that the pubs around the area broadly speaking only have licences until midnight (at the latest) then giving the cinema a licence until 2.30am means that people will presumably be able to leave the pubs and go to the ‘sky bar’.  Similarly, the decision to provide alcohol from 8am in the morning is not one which I can support.
  2. Serving food until 5am every day seems to me to be unlikely to be necessary – why on earth would you need this.

Please don’t get me wrong, I want the cinema and it really should be able to have occasional events which last until late, but I think allowing late night drinking and eating every night is not suitable in a heavily residential area like Eltham.  For the residents of Roper Street, Blunts Road or the various almshouses nearby I can imagine this would make their lives much tougher with noise going on late into the night.

As a point of comparison, the Greenwich Picture House only seems to have permission to show films from 9am to midnight and cannot serve alcohol after midnight during the week.

However, as is always the case with these sort of applications, my view is just one amongst all of the residents and it is vital that if you care about this, you take the time to write to the Council about it.  The relevant section of the letter is below and you need to write in before 17th November to Licensing@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

Vue Licence Representations

For me granting a licence to later than midnight would have to be justified clearly when it has not been permitted for much smaller clubs like the Eltham Terrace Club.  If the Council accepts that the disruption from late night drinking and eating there is a threat to the licensing objectives on a much smaller scale, then it must be the case that it equally applies to this cinema application.

From my point of view the residents of Roper Street made clear today that they suffer from disruption to their lives as the pubs close with people singing and noise waking them up (prevention of public nuisance) and the idea that drinking will be able to continue until 2.30am almost immediately outside their houses is not acceptable.

Just to repeat, I want to see a cinema in Eltham, as I did when I campaigned for one at the old Coronet building on Well Hall Road but it has to be a cinema which fits into Eltham, not one which demands Eltham fits into what it wants to do. 

The full consultation letter is below:

Vue Cinema Consultation Letter