By Grainne Cuffe, local democracy reporter
A salvaged furniture shop in Lewisham has applied to sell alcohol seven days a week, concerning some nearby residents.
Aladdin’s Cave, which offers a host of reclaimed items, has a yard at the back its owners want to use for a bar, seated area, and craft and food stalls.
The shop is in Loampit Hill on the site of the former Lewisham Road Station, which closed more than 100 years ago.
Plans from Loampit Vale LTD to demolish Aladdin’s Cave and build a new shop and flats – eight increased to nine in a later application – were approved in 2018.
According to a heritage statement the “poor-quality existing structures […] plainly detract from both the character and the appearance of the area”.
However, a condition of the approval states: “The development to which this permission relates must be begun not later than the expiration of three years beginning with the date on which the permission is granted.”
September 2021 marks the end of the allowed period.
Now the people behind Aladdin’s Cave have applied for a new premises licence that would allow them to sell alcohol on and off the premises from 10am to 12am all week, and later on New Year’s Eve.
A Lewisham licensing committee was due to consider the plans on Tuesday, May 11, but the meeting was cancelled on May 7. It is unclear when the application will be decided. The council has been contacted for details.
The local authority has received more than forty objections to the application, including from the police and the council’s crime, enforcement, and regulation service, who raised concerns about alcohol being sold until midnight.
Neighbours in the area are concerned about the increased noise the venue would bring, one of whom is close enough to “hear their telephone ring”.
One objector described an application to sell alcohol every day until midnight as “excessive”, warning the venue would be a “huge disturbance” to residents.
Another said: “There are babies and young children living around the site, and others attending the two local nurseries, who need to nap during the day and go to sleep early in the evenings.
“There are other, older children who need to do homework and exam preparation after school hours.
“The increase in noise caused by this development could be disruptive and potentially even distressing, and could impact on their mental and emotional well-being.”
St John’s Society and Brockley Society also objected to the application.
The Met Police objected on the grounds of “concerns over public safety and crime and disorder.
PC Simon Butler wrote: “On visiting the site, I must state that a considerable amount of work must be done in order that public safety is catered for.
“Having now had a chance to visit the site in person and looking at this unique and very individual site police have some serious concerns around some various points after the recent visit.
“The site is situated on a main road with what appears to be only one entry and exit point.
“There is a retail outlet that will remain on site and operational and is very poorly constructed and this would benefit from an expert to look at this premises for fire safety regulations.
“It is constructed of very old wood and in a state of disrepair and would potentially be positioned near to the entrance/exit point of the premises in the event of a fire.
“Either side of the premises is a high wall to residential side and a very steep rail bank leading to a main line railway line with high-speed trains, so where would people escape to in event of fire.
“Police wish to draw the committee’s attention to this very steep bank and insufficient weak fencing currently in position and introducing recreational drinkers and the lack of any Safety precautions in place would make this a serious public safety issue.”
He added that he understands the applicant “has not discussed the boundary with the rail company and if they would require access to the fencing or who is responsible for this boundary”.
PC Butler also raised concerns that there would be an increase of complaints from neighbours if the application is approved.
A series of conditions to the licence have been proposed, but they have not yet been agreed with the applicant.
They include installing a “comprehensive” CCTV system, ensuring all fencing around the space is “substantial”, and making sure all customers leave quietly and don’t hang around the area disturbing neighbours.
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