March 8 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
A South Woodford night club has today lost its battle against orders to slash its opening hours because of disorder and anti-social behaviour.
Funky Mojoe took its fight against last year’s Redbridge Council ruling all the way to the High Court, one of the most powerful in the country.
But judges stopped the appeal in its tracks for the final time, stopping club representatives making any further representations and awarding the council costs that could run over £100,000.
Funky Mojoe will now have to operate new opening hours – serving until 11pm Sunday to Thursday, and 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays - compared to 2.30am previously.
The council slashed the club’s hours after a licensing hearing heard that noise and anti-social behaviour from revellers was disturbing nearby residents.
Management failed their first appeal to overturn the decision at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in November.
Cllr Richard Hoskins, who was in court for the five day hearing, said some residents had tears in their eyes when the verdict was delivered.
He thought the five-year saga was “finally over” but an appeal with the High Court was then lodged.
It delayed the impact of the council’s ruling, letting Funky Mojoe operate extended hours through the festive period and at weekends.
Cllr Hoskins said Funky Mojoe lawyers had attempted to use administrative arguments about the way the council printed notices in their case.
He added: “When we started this campaign with residents we all committed ourselves to the long fight.
“Despite a wobble by the council a few years ago working with residents we have got the right result.
“All their hours of misery and patient logging of events has paid off.”
The case was a test of the 2003 Licensing Act and the ruling will go into law books to set a precedent for future cases.
A campaign against rowdiness from the bar was supported by Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith and councillors.
Residents said they were often woken in the night by drinkers leaving the club who left litter, bottles, cans and even urinated in the streets.
The council’s review into Funky Mojoe’s licence started after a “street brawl” in January 2013, when around 50 people fought outside the club with belts and bottles in the early hours.
The club, in High Road, is well-known for its appearances on reality show The Only Way Is Essex and has been supported in its dispute with the council by some of the show’s stars.
Funky Mojoe told the Recorder they could not comment before speaking to a solicitor.
A man in his 30s has been found dead in a garden in Ilford.