Harpenden school comes under fire in ‘entertainment licence’ row

Roundwood Park school

Roundwood Park school - Credit: Archant

Some residents in Harpenden have found little to cheer after their neighbouring secondary school applied for a seven-day premises licence.

Roundwood Park School (pictured) has asked St Albans district council to licence it to host a range of activities until 11.30pm on Sundays and from Monday to Thursday, and until 2am on Friday and Saturday.

But the bid has provoked concern among some neighbours who fear it will turn the school into an “entertainment venue”.

Roundwood is, according to its application, hoping to hold functions including films, indoor sports, and live and recorded music, where it can provide late night food and alcohol.

Steve Pollock, of Roundwood Park, said: “I object to this as a school is nothing like an entertainment venue. I think we have crossed the Rubicon of what is acceptable.

“Why is Roundwood moving from being a school to being an entertainment venue?”

He is concerned that if the licence is granted, neighbouring residents will suffer from additional noise and traffic at night.

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A Claygate Avenue resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I’m not very happy because we are the nearest neighbours, so we will hear more noise.”

She said there was a lack of clarity about the types of activities the school hoped to host and asked, “are they hoping to hire out the hall for parties and weddings?”

In a letter sent recently to neighbours, the school’s deputy headteacher Tony Smith said Roundwood staged PTA events throughout the year, and used a temporary events notice application for each function.

He explained: “The individual events licence application is time consuming. With a premises licence the school can hold these events and not make individual applications.

“I have no intention of turning the school into anything other than a school that uses its buildings to the benefit of the local community and to raise additional funds to support the enhanced education of our students.”

Roundwood would control disturbance as much as possible and be “considerate and sympathetic to neighbours”.

Tony told the Herts Advertiser: “We are not in Luton Hoo territory. We have never been approached to hold weddings.”

He added that being able to hold more functions would help raise funds for the school.

Tony added: “We would not want to stop our harmonious relationship with our neighbours.”

Nine schools throughout the district currently have premises licences.

The closing date for comments on Roundwood Park’s application is next Monday, May 12.