Rare notice forbids five-day party event in Hainault

A suspected “sham” application to hold five days of late night parties at a Hainault shisha bar has been rejected by Redbridge’s licensing sub-committee.

Councillors on the committee were so concerned about the proposed events at a venue at Fowler Road, Hainault Business Park, that they issued a rare counter notice forbidding the event from taking place.

A police licensing officer told the committee he had “no faith” in the person applying for a temporary event notice, which would allow the lounge to sell alcohol and food until 11pm between Thursday and Monday this week (August 4-8).

Met licensing officer PC Matt Brown told the committee he suspected applicant Kolade Folarin, 38, was making the application on behalf of previous owner and current leaseholder Mujahid Ali, 40, who previously held illegal raves at the venue.

PC Brown said: “I know they said no later than 11pm but I don’t trust that for one minute… I believe the leaseholder is still in control and I have no idea about the new applicant – he’s not here today either.

“We believe this event will go on past 11pm, we’ve got no idea what level of security will be in play and who’s going to get rid of these patrons.

“The main reason for this objection is based on the [venue’s] previous history and our lack of faith in the applicant being in charge.

“The man who we believe is still the current leaseholder has blatantly broken the law in the past with regards to Health Act legislation by operating a shisha and then [raves/unlicensed music events] which lead to local police compiling a file [for a closure notice].”

Mujahid Ali ran a shisha bar called Level at the venue but was convicted of breaching smoking regulations at the venue in 2018, following a Redbridge Council prosecution.

PC Brown added that soon after a stabbing at the venue in July 2020, Ali applied for a restaurant licence.

The officer visited and suspected Level was being used for illegal parties as it had low-tables, amplified speakers and decks for “disco-type music”.

Up to May this year it has hosted several illegal raves, including one during lockdown, giving neighbours “no end of problems” from the noise of customised cars and laughing gas use as ravers leave in the early morning.

Ali has told police he has a 15-year lease on the venue, which was the location of another serious violent offence in January this year.

The committee’s decision, published online, noted PC Brown’s concerns about disorder and crime, Ali’s previous “law-breaking” raves, the lack of information about Folarin and the risk of the application being a “sham”.

It concluded: “The sub-committee therefore issues a counter notice to this application forbidding this event from taking place.”

At the same venue, Folarin has also applied for a permanent licence to have a west African bar, Elegant BanKola Lounge, which may be subject to a future licensing hearing.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter

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