By Cllr Adrian Garden, Councillor for Brixton Hill
John Ashby’s Windmill (aka Brixton Windmill) is now the nearest mill to the centre of London. It was built in 1816 in farmland on top of a hill. In the mid 1850s the surrounding cornfields were replaced by houses, so the strength of the wind reduced catastrophically, and the family decamped to their watermill on the Wandle at Mitcham. When that lease ran out in 1902, the family came back and installed a mill powered by a steam engine on the first floor, which is still there, though now powered by electricity. The business finally ceased in 1934.
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At the meeting of the Licensing Sub-Committee last night, councillors refused to grant White Sands – formerly known as South Beach Bar – a licence to become a function hall and restaurant.
The venue on Brixton Hill, owned by Mr Khan of Khan’s Restaurant on Brixton Water Lane, had applied to have live music, sell alcohol and have late night refreshment. Councillors heard from Mr Khan and then from a series of local residents who expressed concern that White Sands would operate as it had previously – a shoddy bar that had attracted criminal behaviour and nuisance to neighbours. Residents also cited a lack of experience by Mr Khan in running such venues. Councillors turned down the application.
Mr Khan promised ‘yoga and poetry readings’ as part of the mix of events at the venue. Given these are activities that don’t require a licence, it is to be hoped that the owners can indeed commit to at least use the site as a new community hub and be an asset to the area without late opening, sale of alcohol or loud music.
White Sands, the venue on Brixton Hill formerly known as South Beach Bar (and before that as the camping shop), is up before the Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee next week on 17 December.
The venue’s owner, Mr Khan, has already refurbished the premises and has applied for the ability to serve alcohol each night until 11pm and show films, plays, dance and sport and have live music each night until midnight, as a space for functions and events.
The hearing is being held because of objections to the application by the police and local residents. The former South Beach Bar had a reputation for anti-social behaviour, noise nuisance and criminality and was eventually closed after a serious incident. Residents and the police are understandably concerned that this does not repeat itself. The owners have already agreed to a series of conditions by the Council’s noise team but councillors will want to see that the Sub-committee consider whether this location is appropriate for such a venue at all, and how the owners intend to address the serious concerns residents have.
The meeting will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 17 December in Room 8 of the Town Hall. The background papers for the meeting can be seen online.