CHINGFORD: Fears over club licence extension

First published in News East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

DRUNKEN fights and loud music could become a regular occurrence if a rugby club is allowed to extend its opening hours, neighbours claim.

Chingford Rugby Club in Waltham Way, Chingford, faces opposition to its plans to play live music and serve alcohol until 1am at weekends from people in Valley Side, which backs on to the club.

Waltham Forest Council's noise abatement team has also opposed the application on the grounds of preventing crime and "public nuisance", and claims the club cannot control its patrons after a string of recent complaints.

Seven reports of "drunken revellers" have been received by the noise team in the last 16 months and neighbours complain they are verbally abused if they ask for the noise to be kept down.

One couple, who have not been named in council documents, wrote: "When we approach them to turn the levels down we are met with a torrent of abuse.

"The present management have a total disregard for the local community. We have lived here for 22 years ... and have had our ups and downs with the club, but never on a scale as the past two years."

Another unnamed resident wrote: When the people come out they scream and shout, singing and sometimes fighting along Waltham Way. We do not think this is acceptable."

A woman said: "Noise would come from the late night drunken revellers leaving the club. An approval of such an application would be disastrous for the neighbourhood."

Council officer Brian Bowater said: "It is clear the applicant is failing to exercise the appropriate control over the premises and its patrons."

The club is currently licensed to serve alcohol until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 10.30pm on Sundays, but wants to change that to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and 11pm on Sundays after spending thousands of pounds on a new recreation room for club members.

The Gary Hollis Lounge was opened on September 22 and named in memory of a long-serving member.

Club secretary Jeff Carratt said there is a plan to use it for live music venue and social events, which will be open to the public.

He said CCTV and security staff would prevent any problems.

Mr Carratt added: "Noise would be kept to a minimum and people would be asked to turn it down.

"The last fight here was in the car park and was about eight to 10 years ago. There's been no trouble recently at all, but we are mindful and want to work with our community."

The application is set to be considered today (October 11).

The council now withholds the identities of objectors to licence applications following previous complaint

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