Representation regarding Veranda Bar

This representation was made by Councillor Martin Tiedemann to the Licensing Sub-Committee of 13 November for their consideration of Veranda Bar.

Over recent weeks I have had increasing representations from my constituents in Porden Road and Arlington Lodge regarding Veranda, involving a history of noise & nuisance, anti-social behaviour and concern for public safety.

Since the venue opened just a couple of years ago, it has attracted large crowds into the early hours of the morning, who gather in neighbouring roads including Porden Road, drinking, making noise, urinating and causing a nuisance outside people’s homes well after midnight. Residents have reported drug taking and selling, sexual activity and defecation in a front garden. The crowd takes some time to get into the venue and the queue is poorly managed. Once allowed entry, crowds continue to be on the front terrace until the early hours, creating a huge amount of noise. The speakers inside are located by the door facing out so as to maximise the enjoyment of their customers on the terrace. When the doors are open, which is much of the time, the noise can be overwhelming. I have watched videos taken by residents after midnight which demonstrate a level of unbearable noise. There are no measures to ensure the dispersal of revellers afterwards who continue the party outside residents’ homes. I understand that the venue regularly remains open after hours, playing music and maintaining the numbers in and outside the premises.

I understand that the Porden Road Residents Association will provide a log of incidents over two years. It would appear that PORA has missed out on opportunities to be officially consulted including when Veranda’s licence was first granted, so I would be grateful if their details could be kept on file. I include some highlights:

24 Dec 2011 – noise team visited following complaint from residents; statutory nuisance warning letter served
27 Feb 2012 – complaint made to Lambeth Licensing
March 2012 – intervention from Cllr Steve Reed led to promise of sound limiter
23 June 2012 – Veranda still open at 03.50 am, noise team contacted.
31 Aug 2012 – loud music played all night
30 Mar 2013 – residents woken by people leaving Veranda at 03.20 am
1 April 2013 – shot fired at 4 am
2 June 2013 – Veranda held event with loud music until midnight on a Sunday; loudspeakers faced outward
9 June 2013 – On a Sunday again very loud music at 9.30 pm – noise team called and saw breaking of licence conditions although venue had attempted to start dispersing
30 June 2013 – on a Sunday again, live music played very loud with doors open and speakers facing street
Further incidents of music played loudly with speakers facing streets on 10 July, 13 July, 18 July and 27 July at 01.36 am, and again 19 September.

Residents have communicated directly with the venue whose staff have been unhelpful.

Residents and local councillors are aware of the serious incident which took place at Veranda. I am very concerned by the issues the police have raised and it confirms it for me as a venue which cannot manage the number of people they attract and with staff who do not take responsibility for their actions or the safety of their patrons and neighbours.

I ask that the Committee consider suspension or revocation of the venue’s licence due to this incident and the clear lack of commitment to the existing conditions on a range of issues. Should any suspension be for a limited period, I would request the Committee consider conditions around the following issues when the venue re-opens:

  • 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.