The Star of Kings pub at 126 York Way (just South of Copenhagen Street juntion, formerly Cross Kings) has applied for permission to open until 0400 the following morning on Friday and Saturday nights. It's current opening times are 0200 on those nights. On Thursdays it now wants to stay open until 0200 the following morning. The current licence for Thursday is midnight. The licence application also wants to allow live music, dancing, plays, comedy, the service of food etc all to be rolled up to those times.
The Star of Kings, although it faces the Kings Cross wastelands backs up to a dense residential area – York Way Court, Tiber Gardens estates as the photo shows.
The Council letter to neighbouring residents is here Download Star of Kings licence variation
Local resident Mike contacted me concerned about this application. He is organising local people to object. His grounds are mainly late night noise and disorder. Mike and other local residents have had problems with this venue under previous management.
I've discussed this with Mike. It's a fine balance between those old aphorism about the lessons of history and the sins of the fathers. One of the challenges of Kings Cross as it changes is that local people have had such appalling experiences in the past that we react strongly in a safety first way when change is proposed.
The Backpacker pub on this site was the most awful i have ever known. To my mind, the site is poorly designed for a pub in a residential area with a noisy outdoor area at the front. But then that's often the way with Victorian venues.
How a pub behaves depends on how it is run. I spoke with the new leaseholders to get their point of view and add some flesh to the bare licensing application – here's Rob Hives:
'We opened the pub as The Star of Kings in December 2010 after making a significant investment in the kitchen, dining areas and the basement of the pub to try and turn what was mainly a live music venue into a comfortable and safe place to eat, drink and be entertained.
'Our aim is to offer good food and range of entertainment that serves people that both live and work in the local area. After running several events on temporary extensions this year with no issues, we decided to apply for an extension of our trading hours. We are looking to extend our opening hours until 2am on Thursday and 4am on Friday and Saturday. This would not necessarily mean that we would open until these hours every single weekend, rather we would have the option to run events that deem the extension to be necessary. The events would be a mixture of live music and DJ led events.
'Despite having no problem with sound leakage from the venue, we are also undertaking further sound proofing of the basement and the ground floor to ensure that this situation continues in the future, we also operate all the sound equipment well below the level that has been set by the council.
'Following feedback from local residents we have constructed a smoking area outside the front of the pub that is as far away as possible from local residents and this is monitored at all times by members of staff. When leaving patrons are also reminded to leave quietly, with transport arranged outside the venue when necessary. With a later opening time people will also leave at staggered times throughout the evening rather than all at once at 2am.
'We intend to operate the pub for the foreseeable future and wish to build strong links with the local community and therefore welcome peoples feedback on these changes. Our aim is to become an asset to the community not an annoyance.
'Please feel free to contact me via phone or email, if you would like to discuss the application further. We are also looking to hold an open evening in the very near future for local people to come and see the newly refurbished venue and discuss any concerns that they may have.
email@example.com / 07932 869 705'
To my mind Rob Hives is sincere but needs to go further on community consultation. Often licencees are badly advised by lawyers (paid on piece work) on lobbing in applications which are proceduarrly correct but on which the communtiy hasn't been sounded out.
If you want to comment then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your view and your name and address. It's helpful if you include reference WK/111227238. You can comment on issues relating to: the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of nuisance, public safety and the protection of children from harm. There's a page on commenting on the Council website. You don't have to live hard by the venue to comment these days.