Nightclub closes pending 'very last' challenge to hours cut (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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South Woodford's Funky Mojoe will remain closed until the outcome of its 'very last' attempt to retain late licence.
A controversial nightclub has closed pending the outcome of an appeal against a cut to its opening hours.
Funky Mojoe in High Road, South Wooford, recently lodged an application with the Court of Appeal after the High Court rejected a judicial review.
Redbridge Council had limited the club’s opening times to normal pub hours after being presented with evidence of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Director and licensee, Kerry O’Reilly, said the latest move was the “very last” attempt to regain a late licence.
The nightclub has not opened on a Friday or Saturday for the last two weeks after it announced a new ‘bring your own bottle’ policy to bypass the opening restriction.
Ms O’Reilly said: “It worked well and I still think it was a good idea as it was a cheaper night out for everyone but it was something we couldn’t sustain and affected the overall atmosphere.”
As a result of the closure, over 50 members of staff have lost their jobs and, despite some successful efforts to place staff in other venues, redundancies have been made.
Ms O’Reilly contiued: “It is disgusting that 56 people have lost their job.
“It’s alright for me and my security to find new jobs, but I’ve got two of my staff in the process of losing their homes.”
She also added the local economy will suffer as a result of the closure.
Ms Reilly added: “The local economy will be massively affected.
“Everyone came to Mojoes after they’d been to the pub or out for a meal. Nowhere else in the area has the capacity, it’s a real shame.
“All of the businesses in Woodford and South Woodford supported us and most of them benefited in some way because of our presence.”
Since opening in July 2008, the club has been plagued with complaints from nearby residents about noise, drunk and disorderly behaviour and mass brawls in the early hours.
The High Court recently ruled that the club must pay Redbridge Council’s legal cost of £120,000.
It was the first time the court had decided on a nightclub’s licence.
Despite huge financial costs and uncertainty of the club’s future, Ms O’Reilly said she had no regrets.
She added: “At the end of the day, Redbridge Council granted me the licence.
“I understand some of the residents’ concerns but I’ve got CCTV evidence to say differently.
“We ran that place like it was a military operation and tried our absolute best to make sure there were no concerns.
“The council aren’t out to shut businesses; they just did what was in their power and listened to the residents to help them.
“Closing is not something we wanted to do and over the years we have worked closely with the council and the police. Since February last year, we’ve not had any trouble.
“The nightclub has been hit quite badly financially as solicitor bills are not cheap.
“It’s been a headache but we’ve coped in the best possible way. It has all been worth it, we had five and a half fantastic years. ”
Ms O’Reilly will continue her role as director at LocoLounge in Station Road, Chingford, alongside owner Daniel Keefe.
Mr Keefe welcomed her expertise.
The 24 year-old said: “She has 15 years experience and we can trust her. She is the best at her job.”
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