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Withdrawn licencing application raises concerns

posted 30 Aug 2013, 03:34 by Tomo   [ updated 30 Aug 2013, 04:34 ]
Readers of our website and updates will be aware of the planned community centre "The Hive" as part of a new venture that plans to take over the lease of the existing Sheratons building.

In summary, and without being responsible for the exact proposals, the Residents' Association understands that the owner of Budgens in Chorleywood, Vic Grewal is planning to take on the lease for Sheratons as a commercial activity under the trading name of "The Honey Pot" on the ground floor of the premises, and the basement would be sublet to "The Hive" as a community centre facility.

The Residents' Association is broadly very supportive of both aspects of this project. It's already a shame that Sheratons feel the need to shut up shop on Lower Road, a long standing feature of Lower Road in Chorleywood, and we wish them well. It would be even more of a shame for our high street and other retailers if the Sheratons unit were to remain empty, and its probably better for the identity of our village high street that we maintain a broad presence of independent retailers rather than for it to be taken over by a national chain. And broadly it's positive that the proposed leaseholder wants to work with the local community to make some of the space available within the unit for community purposes. However it's important for the needs of local residents and other retailers and users of the Lower Road area to be taken into consideration with the change of use of the premises. The Hive has been proactive in consulting the local community and you can see some of this on their website.

In order to progress plans for "The Honey Pot" a licence application was made to Three Rivers District Council to enable it to carry out its proposed trading activities. However this licence application has been withdrawn as it would appear that the form was incorrectly completed, and it gave a false impression that they required late night trading, live music and alcohol sales to midnight 7 days a week, something that the Residents' Association would have difficulty supporting. We sincerely hope that this was a mistake and misunderstanding to introduce late night trading onto Lower Road.

We've asked both The Hive and The Honey Pot for statements on this situation, and these are reproduced below for the benefit of the local community. The statement implies that normal opening hours for The Honey Pot are proposed to finish at 9pm in line with the existing trading hours of Budgens, and the reference to later night opening in the withdrawn licence application was included for occasional events. There is a provision for licencing to permit this kind of occasional later night events, usually restricted to a certain number of days per year.

We would encourage anyone who has concerns about the concept of either The Honey Pot (Vic Grewal at Budgens), or The Hive (via their website) to contact them and discuss their proposals with them. Such issues can often be better understood and appreciated from both sides over a face to face meeting.

Statement from The Hive, also available on their website

“The Hive Chorleywood is proposing to sublease the basement of Sheratons building from The Honeypot, the proposed establishment which will take over the ground floor of the Sheraton’s building.

At present no applications have been made to Three Rivers District Council by The Hive Chorleywood.  As a charity and a community venture we will be working with residents and businesses to ensure all interests are fully and appropriately considered prior to any planning applications being made for the basement of the Sheratons building and also on an ongoing operational basis.

At present we are in the planning stages of a number of fundraising events (including a Comedy & Music Night 21st September) which will be held in the War Memorial Hall and are actively involved in the setting up of “The Film Club Chorleywood” which is looking to launch in Autumn 2013 in advance of The Hive having an operating space.

For further information regarding planned events, activities and for updates on progress of The Hive please visit www.thehivechorleywood.org.uk

Statement from Vic Grewal regarding The Honeypot and a PDF copy of this document

“We are submitting a revised license application for The Honeypot - the business that will take over the ground floor of the existing Sheraton's building on Lower Road, Chorleywood. We are now closer to finalising plans for this ground floor retail space and are considering options including organic, health and allergy free grocery products, and a small ice-cream, dessert and savoury food counter with a range of coffee, teas and a juice bar and early evening alcohol licence. 

The original licence application made in relation to The Honeypot was submitted to cover any occasional one off uses which may arise, although trading hours are expected to be in line with our other local business, Budgens. The timing of the submission of our license application is in line our intention to be open in early autumn 2013.

We have worked with the community and local PCSO’s here in Chorleywood for the last eight years and have listened and
responded to what our customers and local residents have been saying to us throughout that time. We are keen to work with the Community and give something back to the local area and can do this through working with The Hive which is proposing to sublease the basement of Sheratons building from us. The Hive will function and be run independently from The Honeypot.”

We will continue to monitor the situation and work with any members who contact us about the proposals who have concerns. Please email us at planning@chorleywoodresidents.co.uk if you have any comments or concerns.

However we do raise a cautionary note that the measures by which local authority licences can be rejected are limited by law, and we only need to refer back to hoops that had to be jumped through by the local Police and Three Rivers to take enforcement action against the former Chorleywood Premier who was found to be selling alcohol to underage people on several occasions.

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