New Herne Hill members club accused of ‘blatant disregard’ of licensing rules after noise complaints

Written by on June 3, 2014 in Community, Council, News, Uncategorized - 13 Comments
OTC light

Inside Off The Cuff in Herne Hill. Picture Facebook/OTC

The permanent licence for a new private members club in Herne Hill is at risk after a council officer accused the venue’s owners of a “blatant disregard for licensing rules” following four separate noise complaints.

Off The Cuff bar, in Railton Road, was set up by owners Antony Porter and Jennifer Labbett. It had been open on evenings throughout May thanks to Temporary Events Notices (TENs), a form of temporary licence.

But Lambeth’s noise officers have objected to any further TENs, saying they were called to the archway after complaints about loud music at 11.45pm on Sunday May 4, on May 8, at 12.30am on May 10 and at again at 10.55pm on May 16.

The bar also fears these complaints will jeopardise its permanent licence application, currently under consideration by Lambeth council.

Off the cuff

Inside Off The Cuff in Herne Hill. Picture Facebook/OTC

Council officer Calvin McLean said the behaviour of the owners of Off The Cuff so far showed a “blatant disregard” for licensing rules. In a statement to the licensing sub committee he wrote: “Previous events at this venue and by the applicant has [sic] disturbed residents in this neighbourhood.

“This is particularly troubling considering the applicant is currently seeking a permanent premises licence.”

McLean also accused the owners of being open on May 16 despite having their Temporary Events Notice for that date rejected.

A Lambeth council committee will consider the latest TEN application, for the period from June 12 until June 15, at a Lambeth Town Hall meeting on June 11.

OTC fb

Inside Off The Cuff in Herne Hill. Picture Facebook/OTC

Off The Cuff says it specialises in “niche wines”, cheese and all the furniture is also for sale.

The bar – occupying an archway next to Herne Hill Station, claims on to be “South London’s only private members bar open on Friday and Saturday nights.”

The website goes on: “Providing an exclusive space for you and your friends to enjoy live music, special member’s wine tastings and much more, at only £100 per year, we know you’ll welcome the secure, fun and inviting environment the OTC after dark members only experience offers.”

Posting on an online petition signed by 189 people, Off The Cuff  (OTC) owners said: “OTC is offering the community a diverse space that is set back from any residential housing; [it] is a place to experience live music, new talent, art exhibitions, comedy evenings & a generally good, eclectic crowd of all ages who come in for an evening and want to stay until close.”

It continued: “We believe that not only are we catering to a more avant garde crowd, but that we do not create any disturbance in the square and the level of music we play is perfectly acceptable and next to inaudible outside our premises. We believe that OTC will add to the community.”

What do you make of the licensing row? Leave your comments below, Tweet @BrixtonBlog or email us with your thoughts.

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Tim Dickens is co-founder of Brixton Blog

13 Comments on "New Herne Hill members club accused of ‘blatant disregard’ of licensing rules after noise complaints"

  1. Simon June 6, 2014 at 11:07 pm ·

    I give it six months before it goes bankrupt or becomes a normal pub (assuming this disregard of licensing laws is not held against them and they are allowed to open)

  2. I live up brixton hill June 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm ·

    That bar looks dead poncey.

  3. Sophie June 4, 2014 at 8:18 pm ·

    The bar owners dont seem to be very bright do they?

    If you are setting up a new business it is imperative that you comply with the rules, all the rules, even if they appear petty or you dont understand why they apply, it is also I would have thought a good idea to get neighbours and others in the local area onside to address fears and ensure that there arent complaints especially a business such as this which operates when people are most likely to be at home and sleeping, who knows the neighbours could potentially be customers? This couple seem to have sneered rather at the local Lambeth residents and anyone who doesnt fit their intended demographic. That might work fine in a central area such as Soho but not in a residential area such as Herne Hill

  4. Polly June 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm ·

    Personally, I find this a massive shame, as having met one of the owners earlier in the year, I was thoroughly excited by the prospect of having an interesting venue to relax in after a long day at work, with my friends over a glass or two of wine and a cheese board. The venue itself has been fantastically designed—in my opinion—with stylistic furniture and pieces from local artists on display, as well quirky touches such as newspapers from the 70’s to read. Set back, I am surprised to hear that there were supposed issues with noise, as having passed on numerous occasions, I haven’t heard anything. Being a local resident, I massively hope that ‘Off The Cuff’ is granted a permanent licence, as I have every intention of becoming a member and frequenting their proposed classic film nights, and would love to hear local musicians perform. What a disappointment it would be if this wasn’t the case. Surely we should be in favour of supporting new local businesses, rather than trying to stop them before they’ve had a chance to blossom, especially a place like this that is supporting Herne Hill trade and talent itself. Fingers crossed!!

  5. Andy June 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm ·

    Herne Hill residents in acting like busy-bodies shocker. Presumably if it was another artisan bakery – and my goodness there clearly aren’t enough of those in SE24 – there would be less of an issue given the lack of disturbance it would cause to young Felicity and Hugo’s sleep. Though as other posters have pointed out, appositely, quite how it is possible to cause a noise disturbance right by a train station is beyond me.

    I thought it a marvellous addition to the area. Quirky, fun, live music and a normal crowd which provided a welcome alternative to the rugby watching masses who now pervade much of the rest of the area (yes, I’m looking at you The Florence). I hope the authorities see sense, although I have absolutely no doubt that they won’t.

  6. teenslain June 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm ·


  7. And June 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm ·

    Nice to see otherwise empty space being put to good use and adding a little life to the area. There are too many empty shops etc around the station. Perhaps something as simple as sort of sound-proofing over the corrugated iron interior is the solution and would keep residents and owners/customers happy?

    Agree with other comment, if you live next to a raliway, railway station, taxi rank, restaurants, take-aways and 2 other pubs – don’t be suprised if you get a few visitors of an evening.

  8. marc June 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm ·

    The laws regarding any business are difficult to negotiate, especially when it’s your first, let alone a business selling alcohol. We should be celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit in herne hill.
    What really annoys me are people who buy property within Greater London, next to pubs, restaurants, railway stations etc and then seek to turn it into a suburban retirement village.

    • dave_e June 4, 2014 at 11:47 pm ·

      I’ve visited this place a few times and I have to say it struck me as civilised, distinctly not rowdy in any fashion and having great potential. It only takes one person to make a complaint to the sound police and I can only presume this was instigated by someone with an issue over noise in the Railton Road plaza outside the station. In which case, why are they not directing their ire towards the Commercial whose clientele seem, to my ear, to be the cause of much of the unruly Friday night behaviour?

  9. Beverley June 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm ·

    It’s not that difficult is it? Did the council take noise level readings following complaints? That is the role of a licensing team/environmental officer. Do the council have evidence that they we’re open when the shouldn’t have been? They are simple facts to answer for their licence application. Don’t understand why there’s a discussion on it!

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