Brentwood Sugar Hut refused longer outside opening hours

Brentwood Council’s licensing panel rejected a bid from the Sugar Hut nightclub on Tuesday to extend the opening hours of its courtyard.

The proposal would have seen the outside area of the club - made internationally famous by TV show The Only Way is Essex - remain open until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 1.30am on Wednesdays.

The council appeared to have made a blunder when on the morning of the hearing it was pointed out by Sugar Hut’s solicitor David Dadds that half of the objection letters received and included in the agenda were inadmissible.

Five of them hadn’t been processed within the correct time period, and therefore had to be ignored by the panel.

Chairman Cllr Ann Coe (Conservative, South Weald) said the council would look into what had gone wrong.

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The panel heard from environmental health officer David Carter, who said: “It would appear from my visits to the premises that there doesn’t appear to be any management control of the premises to remove customers from the courtyard area.”

But he was forced to concede that Brentwood Council had not contacted the club regarding the noise from the courtyard and that only one letter of complaint had been received from a resident.

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Penny Cook, of North Road Avenue, also spoke against the proposal, describing how she is unable to open her windows on a hot night due to noise levels from music.

She said: “I believe that the Sugar Hut has flagrantly flouted the licence agreement and I don’t think the council should reward them.”

Mr Dadds, who pointed out the application was not for music, said: “We do have an open house as it were, and I know that councillors have been along, and we try to engage fully with residents.”

He presented evidence from an acoustics consultant which said that noise from the courtyard didn’t impact greatly on the comfort of local residents.

But the panel rejected the research over concerns that it was carried out on a Sunday night in February when the courtyard would not have been full.

Mr Dadds hinted that the club may appeal the decision. He said: “I hope we will have a very detailed reasons for what we’ve heard for if and when we appeal we will know the grounds on which we are appealing.”

The panel gave approval for the club to extend the hours it can re-admit patrons.

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