Kentish Town’s The Forum applies for cage fighting licence

CAGE fighting and wrestling could become regular fixtures at the Kentish Town Forum if a controversial change in its licence is passed by Camden Council tonight.

A one-off cage fight took place at the Highgate Road venue in February (see picture, right) to a packed audience – in which white collar workers including lawyers, estate agents and Cambridge graduates took to a ring placed inside black netting.

Now the venue wants to change its licence to allow boxing and wrestling – which could include cage fighting – to be scheduled any time from 9am to 2am Monday to Saturday and noon to midnight on Sundays.

But local residents are up in arms. Three separate residents associations, and four other independent residents have now lodged their opposition over the plan.

The application also includes a request for six events that could take place between 9am and 3am and allow full 2,350 capacity of the venue.

P. Gibson and D Ross, on behalf of Highgate Road Residents group, have also lodged a complaint against the licence. The group expressed frustration that issues such as noise pollution and littering would only get worse under the new licensing agreement and worry that the extensions will mean an end to the only “reasonably secured quiet weekend period” they have left.

They added: “Since cage fighting is a no-holds-barred kind of sport, we fear it will attract the kind of customers who will have no qualms about disrupting the area with anti-social behaviour.”

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At present the Forum is licensed for indoor sports, recorded and live music and dance performances as well as late night refreshment and alcohol.

Lindsay Purchall, of Falkland Road, said that adding boxing and wrestling entertainment to the Forum’s repertoire is “totally unsuited” to the densely populated residential area.

Belinda Wakefield of the Evangelist Road Residents’ Association worries that increased late-night parking on surrounding streets will disturb sleeping residents and mean residents will struggle to find spaces for their own cars. Another resident said events like this were more suited to the O2 Arena and Wembley Stadium.

The current licence already has a condition that the venue is only allowed to open at its full capacity of 2,350 until 2am between Sunday and Thursday, 6am on Friday or 4am Saturday nights and residents must be consulted prior to the event. A veto is also available to the police if they think the event is likely to cause trouble.