Veranda Bar forced to close for eight weeks after ‘serious incident’

verandaAt a marathon session last night, Lambeth Council’s Licensing Sub Committee voted to suspend the licence of Veranda Bar on Acre Lane for eight weeks and impose stringent new conditions. This followed a ‘serious incident’ in October and representations by the police and Brixton Hill’s councillors.

The review of Veranda’s licence came about because of a shooting incident at the venue on 19 October. The police expressed serious concerns about how Veranda’s management had failed to prevent the gun coming onto the premises and how they had reacted to the incident subsequently. The police representations can be read here.

Around the same time, Brixton Hill’s councillors had been meeting with residents of Porden Road about major issues concerning anti-social behaviour, public nuisance and concern for public safety, with Veranda’s late-night clientele bearing much of the responsibility and with an inadequate response from the venue. As a consequence Councillor Martin Tiedemann made a representation to the Sub-committee detailing some of these issues and with recommendations for how these could be dealt with on top of the police recommendations in direct response to the shooting. He made the following recommendations for amended conditions for the venue, in addition to any dealing with public safety:

  • The use of the front terrace not to be allowed after 11pm Fri/Sat. Enforcement of earlier conditions on Sundays and other days.
  • The employment of marshalls to ensure management of the queue before entry and proper dispersal when the venue closes including surrounding roads.
  • Measures taken to control noise including re-location of the speakers away from the front and installation of double doors.
  • Dialogue with local Residents Associations to assist ongoing relationships.

Cllr Tiedemann’s full representation can be viewed here.

At last night’s meeting, Cllr Alex Holland was on-hand to make representations in person to the committee and was finally able to do so at around midnight. Following consideration of the issue, the committee decided to suspend the licence for eight weeks and to impose a new series of conditions that will largely restrict the venue to a daytime and evening restaurant and bar, rather than a late night club, with enhanced security, noise limitation and crowd dispersal. Many of these had been suggested by Veranda’s own legal representative, given the seriousness of the issues they faced.

Councillor Martin Tiedemann commented, “We are very sorry that a serious incident involving a shooting and injury led to a wider review of Veranda’s operations but we are pleased that we and local residents were able to make representations on a number of issues.

“It is good news that the venue has agreed to reduce its hours, meaning that residents will no longer be kept awake by loud music in the early hours or have to put up with revellers screaming and being a nuisance outside their homes. We welcome Veranda management’s new outreach to local residents and their commitment to working to address the issues raised. We hope there will be no repetition either of the threat to public safety or the local nuisance and anti-social behaviour.”

The minutes of the meeting including the amended licensing conditions will be released in the next few days.

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