View from street of shopfront where a wine shop and wine bar is proposed.
Plans for a wine shop and wine bar at 57 Warren Street are not welcome. Photo: Fitzrovia News.

Yet another licensing application has been submitted to Camden Council. This time it is Must & Lees seeking permission to sell alcohol to takeaway and to drink on the premises and on the forecourt at 57 Warren Street.

The application, if successful, will turn the former shop premises into a wine shop and wine bar — immediately below and next to where people live.

There are around 160 homes along Warren Street and its residents have been subjected to various attempts recently to undermine their quality of life.

Plans for a sports bar below people’s homes were successfully seen off, but an application for a large restaurant was successful despite huge opposition from residents living immediately above the premises and across the street.

“All of the residents in the building are part of a nice quiet, friendly community. They nor any of our neighbours in the building have been consulted on any of these plans, which have come as a complete shock to us,” wrote one resident in response to a recent application.

“These plans do not seem to have taken the impact on our lovely community into account at all.”

I’ve talked to many people on the street and those comments sum up the feelings of local residents.

Historically the street has been relatively quiet and there is a sense of community here. But over the last ten years it has become more noisy and people are subjected to increasing public nuisance from venues undermining their previously happy and diverse street.

With the decline of high street shops, offices and other daytime only operations in the street, residents are facing an unwelcome change to the character of the neighbourhood.

Much of this is the fault of The Fitzrovia Partnership business group which is marketing the street as an eating and drinking destination, aided and abetted by Camden Council which appears to think there is no limit to the number of licensed premises that Fitzrovia can sustain.

A monoculture of businesses selling food and alcohol to be consumed at tables and chairs outside in the street looms large.

There are already ten places selling alcohol along Warren Street: three pubs, two off-licences and five restaurants and cafes.

But there are also another four “dormant” licences leftover from premises which have either closed or changed hands and are not currently being used. As the premises licence stays with the premises it can be transferred to an incoming business without it having to be approved by a licensing panel.

People I meet along the street tell me they are frequently subjected to loud and antisocial behaviour from customers, and the pavements are strewn with an ever increasing amount of rubbish.

The proposed business on ground floor and basement at 57 Warren Street is situated within a stretch of densely populated buildings, some of which are homes to families in social housing. Having customers all day and in the evening, and drinking outside, will only create further disturbance to those who have made their homes and a community here.

Camden Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy says: “We must seek to ensure that our residents can peacefully enjoy their homes and environment whilst also encouraging responsible and positive business investment and economic growth.”

It’s revised policy even includes a section with “supportive information around alcohol related harm and the detrimental effects alcohol can have on us”.

Yet it seems the councillors on Camden’s licensing panels are incapable or reading or understanding their own policy or, worse, don’t care. It’s business as usual.

Warren Street doesn’t need yet another place selling alcohol. People live here. Try to remember that.

Licensing application: APP\PREMISES-NEW\114758, 57 Warren Street W1T 5NR. The deadline for making comments is: 9 May 2023.