As the number of objections rose, the Council ha confirmed that the application by Vue Cinemas to be able to serve drinks and food until well after midnight will go before the Licensing sub-committee on Monday, 5 December 2016 at 6.30 pm at the Town Hall in Woolwich. However, behind the scenes, the applicants (Vue Cinemas) have agreed to meet all those who objected to the application a week before the sub-committee on Monday 28th November. Initially this meeting was planned for Woolwich, but I am pleased to confirm that with Officer co-operation, I managed to organise a change of venue to the Eltham Centre where hopefully more residents will be able to make the 5.30pm start time.
Objections from across the board
With 51 objections, the concerns over the late licence for Vue to serve alcohol and ‘late night refreshment’ seem pretty universal. As you would expect, residents from around the area (especially Roper Street and Philipot Almshouses particularly well represented) have written in as have all five of the Conservative Councillors for the area, however, in addition, there are clear representations from:
- Eltham Arts
- The warden of the Thomas Philipot’s Almshouse Charity
- Metropolitan Police, Borough Police Licensing Unit RG (which notes how vague the application is)
- The Eltham Society
- Old Page Residents’ Association
- Greenwich Council’s Planning Enforcement Department (which asked the applicant to “Modify the hours that licensable activities may take place to: Monday to Sunday from 7:00 hours until 23:00 hours”)
- Greenwich Council Trading Standards and Licensing
- Greenwich Council Community Safety and Enforcement
As far as I can see there is not a single representation in support of the application, although many people note their support for the cinema in general (including me).
It is interesting to note that at least one Council Department makes clear that the applicant never replied to them when they made enquiries about the proposals and others comment about the brief application (mirroring the Police concerns).
So overall, there seems to me to be a unified front here, with almost every single interested party being clear that they are not going to support the proposals.
A little political point
I am often asked what difference having Conservative Councillors makes when we are unlikely to win the Council any time soon but I think this application makes clear why it is so important to have opposition Councillors in a one-party Borough like Greenwich. Of the five Conservative Councillors, four wrote in to object to this late licence (the fifth is on the Licensing Committee and so cannot comment). Of the seven Labour Councillors covering various parts of the High Street, not a single one found time to write in to object to the late licence being granted. The Labour MP did not write in either other than on Twitter. In my opinion the difference in interest in this application is made absolutely clear in these statistics.