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Fury over alcohol sales at Highgate school

PUBLISHED: 15:14 21 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 07 September 2010

Sofia Mitra-Thakur HIGHGATE residents have slammed plans to sell booze at a secondary school's sports ground. The old boys association at St Aloysius College want an alcohol licence for their clubhouse. If they can convince councillors to give them the

Sofia Mitra-Thakur

HIGHGATE residents have slammed plans to sell booze at a secondary school's sports ground.

The old boys' association at St Aloysius' College want an alcohol licence for their clubhouse.

If they can convince councillors to give them the green light, the pavilion on the school playing fields, off Stanhope Road, would offer alcohol every day of the week.

But some neighbours fear it will leave their usual peace and quiet in tatters.

Retired GP Dr Cyril Sheridan, whose garden backs onto the sports ground, said: "This is a quiet residential area and the idea of the noise of late-night traffic and rowdy drinkers spilling onto the field is intolerable.

"With current smoking regulations, one might assume that more participants would be outside the building, increasing noise intensity and public nuisance."

The application from the Old Aloysians also includes a request for recorded music and dancing "occasionally" on Saturday evenings.

This is not the first time that the school has been the subject of controversy over noise disturbance.

Neighbours have previously complained about noise from a wooden hut on the field as late as 3am on Friday and Saturday nights, with council noise teams frequently called to investigate.

James Lines and his wife Marie, whose house also borders the sports field, said: "The proposal for the introduction of recorded music and dancing on Saturday evenings is particularly objectionable.

"When the previous wooden pavilion was in use there were occasional parties, with very noisy music and a considerable amount of litter left on the pavement and in our front garden afterwards - all of which was entirely inappropriate in a quiet residential district.

"Once an amplifier is installed in the pavilion, the flick of a switch would make it all too easy, once more, to create serious sound pollution of the neighbourhood."

St Aloyius College in Hornsey Lane is an all-boys school whose sports fields have been graced by former pupil and Chelsea footballer Joe Cole.

Locals also have misgivings about selling alcohol on premises occupied by young people.

Dr Sheridan said: "Do the parents know that their children are going to be subjected to an alcoholic environment?

"Some of the periods in the application for the sale of alcoholic drinks coincide with pupils' activities on the field.

"This could be seen as encouraging a drinking culture among the pupils, when schools should be discouraging it."

But headteacher Tom Mannion dismissed concerns, saying: "There always used to be a licence for the old pavilion before it was demolished. The bar will be locked up and there will no access to it for the pupils.

"It will only be used by the Old Boys team and the staff cricket team and they will all be sober because they are useless cricketers. I will doubt very much there will be any problems and, if there is any, then people can call us and we will look into it.


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