Hornchurch pub licensing meeting verdict hangs in the balance

Assault at Hornchurch pub

Police are investigating allegations of an alleged assault outside the Rising Sun pub on Saturday night (August 28). - Credit: Joe Sullivan

A Hornchurch pub has promised that if its application for a new lounge and bar is accepted, it would be a quiet place to contrast with its other offering.

On September 28, members of Havering Council's licensing sub-committee gathered at 10.30am to discuss the application submitted by The Rising Sun pub in Hornchurch.  

The plans ask for licensing permission for a rear lounge with bar, outside toilet and smoking area in order to bring in more revenue following the pub's closure throughout Covid.

This lounge would be operated as a “separate” area from the public house and used for functions, with entry and exit via a rear gate only with no access to the pub.

The meeting was initially scheduled for earlier this month, but was postponed due to fears an email would prejudice the proceedings.

Councillors John Tyler and Natasha Summers attended, with Cllr Reg Whitney absent.

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Graham Hopkins, who was speaking on behalf of applicants Joseph Sullivan and Peter Faires, said the application seeks to add the additional venue and not onto the existing premises licensing.  

This comes after a recent police investigation; officers were called to the venue twice over reports of an alleged assault and a "fracas".

During the hour-long meeting, public detections officer Paul Jones said there was only one representation against the application from a ward councillor.  

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Saint Andrews ward councillor Paul Middleton said Hornchurch used to be quiet because Romford attracted the party-goers.

He blamed alleged antisocial behaviour problems in Romford on the “night-time economy” and noted Hornchurch “does not have the police officers available to deal" with issues if they arose.

Cllr Middleton said he is “readily contacted” by residents complaining about noise from the pub and asked if doors opening to access toilets would have a “huge negative effect on residents”.  

He asked: “Do you want to make Hornchurch another Romford?"

Mr Hopkins said the allegations were “largely unsubstantiated”, and confirmed the added-on area would act independently, prohibiting people from passing through the main pub.  

He also said a noise limiter has been offered “out of respect to residents” in the current licence of the existing function room.  

Mr Hopkins believe there will be “no disruption to residents” as music played in the new function room would be “ambient” - described as being able to have a conversation without raising your voice in a six-feet room - and put through a noise limiter.  

He confirmed the venue's capacity would be 90 people standing and 50 to 60 people seated in order to host a range of parties.  

Although Cllr Summers said a Christmas party would not play soft music, Mr Hopkins confirmed “loud parties” would be in the front room and in the new back room the noise limiter would prohibit music from rising above its setting".  

Cllr Middleton raised concerns about 90 people leaving the venue “quietly and quickly”, but Mr Hopkins said there will be three door supervisors.  

Applicant Joseph Sullivan said: “To clarify for everyone to understand. If you look at the venue, the pub is over 21s and loud music, the club is over 21s and loud music. We do not do any parties for 18-year-olds."  

He commented on his experience in the industry, and said he wanted to offer a “quiet place” in contrast to the venue's other rooms.  

“You need to offer diversity and we’re offering a quiet room for people to sit down and eat food and drink," he said. "They won’t be dancing or jumping up or down, and they will disperse long before 1.30am.” 

Joseph said he is looking to offer somewhere where people can hold a typical family “East end party”.  

The Rising Sun pub will receive written confirmation within five working days of the decision made by the panel.

This decision can be appealed within 21 days of its received date.  

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