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Kentish Town bar's bid to open until 6am

PUBLISHED: 11:49 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:45 07 September 2010

ANGRY residents in Kentish Town who value a good night s sleep are battling against a live music venue's plans to hold events until the early hours of the morning. The HMV Forum on Highgate Road, with a capacity for 2,350 revellers, wants p

Ben McPartland

ANGRY residents in Kentish Town who value a good night's sleep are battling against a live music venue's plans to hold events until the early hours of the morning.

The HMV Forum on Highgate Road, with a capacity for 2,350 revellers, wants permission to hold all night shows until 6am on six chosen days throughout the year.

It could mean one sleepless night a month because The Forum, which is rebuilding its name as a venue for live bands under its owners the Mama group, already has a licence to hold events until 4am on six set days each year.

Now neighbours, who have a long history of clashes with the live music venue, are preparing to fight the latest threat to their peace and quiet.

Highgate Road resident Peter Julian said: "Our sleep is disturbed by the noise of the alcohol-fuelled Forum customers shouting and screaming and slamming car doors.

"We are already prevented from the peaceful enjoyment of our property due the Forum customers' unruly behaviour which is a breach of our civil liberties."

Chairwoman of the Highgate Road Residents' Group Pat Gibson wrote to Camden Council's licensing team to object to the late night bid.

She said: "Are we to have no sleep on Friday and Saturday nights? A lot of us are elderly, many work from home at different hours from the usual 'nine to fivers'. We, on this stretch of Highgate Road are particularly vulnerable to theft, we have already had plant pots stolen by drunken late-night revellers and with 2,350 - many inebriated, things can only get worse."

This bid is the latest in a long line of rows between residents and Forum bosses which reached a height when it played host to Saturday Night's School Disco and the notorious Sunday afternoon The Church, both of which were infamous for the drunken antics of the revellers.

Both events have since been moved out of the Forum much to the relief of residents, but Ms Gibson feels betrayed by the latest move by the venue.

She said: "We did not expect this flagrant imposition on our good will and feel that the Forum should be more open and honest in its plans." Camden police have also written to the council to object to the plan believing it to be "excessive and inappropriate given the highly residential location of the venue".

Sgt Bob Dear said the lack of adequate transport links in Kentish Town meant opening until 6am would only exacerbate the problems.

Managing director of Mama's live events wing Steve Forster told the Ham&High the application was perfectly reasonable.

He said: "We removed the Church and the School Disco, so we lost 200 events a year because the residents asked us to. But we are a business and we believe this application is entirely proportionate and reasonable. This will enable us to compete with other venues that have similar licences.

"We have been clear and transparent that we want to deliver high quality events. We have regular residents' meetings."

Mr Forster added it was "disingenuous" to suggest transport would be an issue because the network would be open by 6am.

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