St Albans nightspot Havana wins licence fight
PUBLISHED: 20:00 28 July 2015
There has been a narrow victory for a St Albans nightspot owner who has spent several years seeking the go-ahead from council to host a range of activities including comedy acts.
On the casting vote of a committee chairman, planning approval was given retrospectively to Havana, in Victoria Street, for use as a nightclub and to offer dance classes, viewing of sporting events and other activities.
Four councillors voted for and four were against the proposed use of Havana as a nightclub and for assembly and leisure purposes at a recent plans central committee meeting.
Thanks to the casting vote of chairman, Cllr Janet Churchard, the scheme was approved, despite residents’ objections.
A report to the committee said that neighbouring residents considered it inappropriate for a nightclub to operate in a densely populated area.
Locals, represented by residents’ associations, said St Albans did not need three nightclubs, and warned there would be more litter in the city centre as a result.
They also said it was “hypocritical” for the council to simultaneously allow the conversion of offices into flats and allow this proposal.
But an agent responding to objections on behalf of Havana owner Christine Wood told the council that “permitted development concession allowing offices to be converted into dwellings cannot possibly be an argument for displacing legitimate town centre uses.”
Planning officers had recommended the committee grant conditional permission to Havana.