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‘Alcohol is unnecessary in nurseries’

Town Hall licensing chiefs reject Islington Square club’s booze bid after neighbours said it was ‘entirely inappropriate’

08 May, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

A FAMILY members’ club with nursery facilities has been denied a licence to sell alcohol after resident groups branded the application “unnecessary and entirely inappropriate”.

Ofsted-rated Maggie and Rose, which also has clubs in Kensington, Chiswick and Hong Kong, wanted to serve a “limited selection” of alcohol to parents at its Islington Square site.

On Tuesday, applicant Thomas Stanley described the business to a licensing committee as a “family space” which adults can only enter in the company of their families.

“The entire concept is about a space for families to be together which includes the odd glass of wine or the odd beer,” he said.

“Serving alcohol forms a very small part of our revenue stream. It’s just there as a kind of added bonus for families when they’re having parties or when they come in for the odd bite to eat.

“This is very much a small ancillary usage against the classrooms and nursery space for family birthdays and the odd times when people will have a glass of wine with lunch.”

But representatives of residents from Almeida Street, Moon Street and Studd Street said it was “entirely inappropriate” for nurseries to sell alcohol.

Michael Gwinnell of the Almeida Street residents’ association said: “We have no objection to Maggie and Rose having a nursery there, but what we think is inappropriate on general grounds is for nurseries to be licensed.”

Labour councillor Matt Nathan told the meeting the council’s planning committee had been “very reluctant” to afford this application a zoning that would make it appropriate to seek an alcohol licence.

“We’re effectively being asked to overturn a decision that the planning committee has made,” he said.

Answering Cllr Nathan’s point, Gareth Hughes, representing the applicant, said the proposal was ancillary to the main usage of the site as an education and entertainment establishment for children and their families.

But after 30 minutes of deliberation the application was rejected. The meeting was held using video technology.

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