Business as usual for Boujis after club is allowed to keep licence

Celebrity haunt Boujis has been permitted to operate as normal following a licence review meeting with residents.

The nightclub is famous for its esteemed guests from the royals Harry, Will and Kate, to singers Rihanna and Lady Gaga, and international stars Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and actor Will Smith.

The police were called to the Kensington venue after a mass brawl in October led to seven arrests.

The club was ordered to close temporarily for two weeks and police arranged an expedited review for crime and disorder in light of the violence.

Chief Executive of Ignite Group that runs Boujis, Matt Hermer, branded the closure of the club as ‘painful’, especially as they had missed out on the lucrative Halloween trading period.

But the support for the club shown by residents at the licence review meeting – only three of 59 residents opposed the club – delighted Mr Hermer.

“We have operated for over 12 years and we pride ourselves on being considerate neighbours and an active part of the community,” he told SW Londoner.

“The fact that many of our closest neighbours came in support of us continuing as a late night venue is heartening and a reflection of the steps that we have taken to respond to concerns.

“An important factor in the council’s decision to overturn the decision was that they saw how useful we are in the prevention of anti-social behavior.

“The residents agreed that we were doing our best.”

The review included a call for the club to be forced to close an hour earlier at 2am, a decision that Mr Hermer believes would have had a negative effect on club regulars.

“As we were running on a 3am licence, closing at 2am will have meant a different vibe inside the club,” said Mr Hermer.

“Our guests will have had to finish up their drinks and leave the venue at 1.45am, something they’re not used to doing.”

Strong resident support for the club is in contrast to concerns that resident opposition is leading to a dramatic fall in the number of nightclubs nationwide.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), the trade body for the late night economy, found that the number of nightclubs in the UK has fallen from 3,144 in 2005 to just 1,733 in 2015.

“It is a harder business nowadays and the residents are more powerful,” said Mr Hermer.

“There are more stringent police powers, such as the expedited review for crime and disorder which we went through.”

The October mass brawl gained publicity after the footage of the fight went viral, adding to the case opposing the nightclub’s licence in the residential South Kensington area.

The video, filmed by a staff member of Boujis, was given to the police to help them identify the offenders who were later given fixed penalty fines.

The video was allowed to gain widespread viewership because the police published it online without the club’s consent.

It was taken down after Boujis lodged a complaint but by then many had already seen the video.

Image courtesy of Boujis London via YouTube, with thanks

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