Redbridge Council has lost a battle of wills with a Chadwell Heath venue it has been trying to shut down for three years.
Mayfair Venue in High Road, has requested the council’s permission to change use from a bingo hall to an events venue three times since 2017 – but has been refused every time.
In 2018, when the owners continued to rent the building out for events, the council issued an enforcement notice, threatening legal action if they continued.
However, on April 29, the Planning Inspectorate granted permission for Mayfair Venue to change use, overturning the council’s refusal and negating the enforcement notice.
Planning inspector John Felgate wrote that the building was “an appropriate location” for an events venue and concluded there was “no evidence” it would cause unacceptable noise or parking issues.
While he acknowledged the past “unauthorised use”, he argued the Mayfair Venue would “attract footfall and promote the (area’s) vitality” and that residents’ concerns about noise were not “realistic” for a town centre area.
He wrote: “In this type of location, it would not be realistic to expect a very quiet environment, like that which might be found in a wholly residential area.
“To seek to limit noise to that extent would frustrate the (council’s) development plan’s aims for Chadwell Heath and thus weaken the planning strategy for the borough as a whole.
“It seems to me that, in principle, the proposed use is one which is positively encouraged in this type of location, and indeed the location is one to which this type of use is primarily directed.”
However, out of regard for neighbours’ annoyance, he decided all events at the venue could last until 1am on weekends at the latest or at 11pm on weeknights.
The Chadwell Heath South Residents’ Association (CHSRA) has campaigned fervently against the building’s conversion for years, arguing it should return to its historic use as a cinema.
Responding to the news, CHSRA chairman Rama Muraleetharan called the decision “a big blow to our community” and revealed the association has successfully raised funds for a judicial review.