Keystone Law, along with Francis Taylor Building, has secured a 5 am licence for new nightclub club “Bloc South”, due to open next month, in South London’s infamous Vauxhall Triangle.
In a rare victory, the Keystone team - led by licensing lawyer Andrew Wong who also instructed Francis Taylor Building in the case, aided Bloc South’s owner Wayne Shires to overcome a number of application objections at a hearing before Lambeth Council’s sub-committee on the 31st January 2017.
Mr Shires has been a hugely important figure in London’s gay nightlife scene for some years and already owns popular Dalston club East Bloc. Despite his long-standing reputation as a pillar of the LGBT community, the hearing saw all opposing authorities cite Lambeth Council’s “Hours Policy”, which allows new nightclubs to close no later than 02:00hrs, as one of the grounds for objection.
However, following on from unprecedented support, from Lambeth residents, for the LGBTQ dedicated nightclub, the licensing sub-committee accepted that, given the individual circumstances, their policy could be applied flexibly and so they were prepared to make an exception in this case.
Lord Brian Paddick, the former Police Borough Commander of Lambeth and candidate for London Mayor, wrote in support of the application indicating that:
“The sub-committee will be aware of trends in the LGBTQ community in recent years including the closing of many LGBTQ venues in London in general and South London in particular. There has also been a move to arranging to meet people ‘on line’ with the inherent dangers associated with not meeting in a neutral location first. In my opinion, there is a real need for ‘safe spaces’ for members of the LGBTQ community to meet and socialise and I believe Wayne’s application is timely and desirable.”
Following on from the positive result, Andrew Wong commented:
“The grant of the new licence is fantastic news for the LGBTQ community, particularly following the closure of so many iconic venues in recent times.”
Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building continued:
“This result really bucks recent trends in the nightclub industry, particularly in London. Between 2007 and 2015, nearly 50% of night-time venues have closed.”