O2 Academy appeals over extra hours veto

Oxford Mail: The O2 Academy The O2 Academy

THE fight is back on for residents who won a battle against plans for an Oxford nightclub to increase its opening hours.

In June, Oxford City Council turned down plans for the O2 Academy, in Cowley Road, to open an hour earlier each day, for four extra hours on Sundays before bank holidays and until 6am on May Morning.

That was despite officers recommending the changes should be approved.

Councillors rejected the plan due to concerns about community safety, crime and noise.

The Academy Group has appealed against the decision and now a planning inspector will hold an inquiry.

Ed Chipperfield, chairman of the James Street Residents ‘Association, said there had been improvements since student night Fuzzy Ducks had been moved from the venue to Wahoo, in the city centre.

But he said he would continue to oppose the application.

Mr Chipperfield, 36, said: “I have spoken to a few people who would not be very happy if they were allowed to have the hours extended.”

The club’s premises licence already permits it to open for the extra hours, but it requires planning consent before it can do so – something Mr Chipperfield described as a “backdoor method” of extending drinking hours.

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He said: “It's not like Cowley Road needs more drinking hours. There are probably fewer people going out than they ever were, because students have less money and seem to be a quieter crowd and it’s much more attractive to go out in town.

“I know it’s an hour earlier but it’s whether the area needs more drinking hours in total. What it adds up to is people going out and staying out drinking for a lot longer and over the week it’s maybe an extra day’s trading.”

Colin Cook was a member of the committee that refused the application.

He said: “The residents gave us evidence of existing problems and we didn’t want to exacerbate them any further.

“Some people thought it was a relatively minor increase but we considered it would add a significant number of drinking hours, given the numbers of people gathering, and it wasn’t a sensible idea.

“We will clearly defend this decision and I suspect many of the local residents will be supportive of that.”

Academy Music Group spokesman Louise Kovacs said: “The application to open the club one hour earlier at 6pm would allow us to start shows which are aimed at a younger audience at an earlier time and so finish them before the pubs close, which has obvious benefits from a child safety point of view.

“We are committed to working with the community and do not believe the limited extension to the hours will be in any way detrimental.”

Comments (3)

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4:51pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

Seeing as The Bully doesn't open until 5pm instead of 11am anymore that is 2,190 less drinking hours on Cowley Road, so the extra 300 odd hours that the o2 wants comes nowhere near adding to the hours, that along with the closure of The Temple Bar and The Regal is a drastic reduction in drinking hours in the past year or so. Something that Mr Chipperfield seem to have conveniently forgotten when making his objection.
Seeing as The Bully doesn't open until 5pm instead of 11am anymore that is 2,190 less drinking hours on Cowley Road, so the extra 300 odd hours that the o2 wants comes nowhere near adding to the hours, that along with the closure of The Temple Bar and The Regal is a drastic reduction in drinking hours in the past year or so. Something that Mr Chipperfield seem to have conveniently forgotten when making his objection. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: -66

1:46pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

I wish I had your computer knowledge or software Mr/Mrs Voter. How much fun it must be to give relevant posts a massive T down, and rubbish ones a massive T up. The possibilities are endless, for a sad little Troll that is.
I wish I had your computer knowledge or software Mr/Mrs Voter. How much fun it must be to give relevant posts a massive T down, and rubbish ones a massive T up. The possibilities are endless, for a sad little Troll that is. Pavinder Msvarensy
  • Score: 0

1:18am Wed 21 Nov 12

sparky123456 says...

i don't see the issue and I'm a local resident. The hour earlier is surely a good thing? then gigs can finish earlier and people won't be wandering home as late. and the point relating to gigs for younger audiences is also good and valid. Especially as the O2 often has two very different gigs on the same night. That would allow them to stagger the stage times more and cut down on the crowds exiting around the same time.
i don't see the issue and I'm a local resident. The hour earlier is surely a good thing? then gigs can finish earlier and people won't be wandering home as late. and the point relating to gigs for younger audiences is also good and valid. Especially as the O2 often has two very different gigs on the same night. That would allow them to stagger the stage times more and cut down on the crowds exiting around the same time. sparky123456
  • Score: 0

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