Residents in North West London say plans to launch a new nightclub near their homes would be ‘like having a Wembley concert in our garden’.

Palm Island Lounge would have replaced former late-night bar Vybz, which had been shut down by police due to violence and drug use, but the application was thrown out by Brent council.

The owner, Kingsley Adjel, applied for a premises licence to play music and serve alcohol until 4am every day at a venue located in the residential area of Craven Park Road.

But councillors at a recent alcohol and entertainment licensing sub-committee meeting (June 7) concluded that it was “not appropriate” to grant it as they didn’t think it had been properly thought through.

The Harlesden site used to be home to Vybz Bar until it had its licence taken away last August. A closure order from the Metropolitan Police was granted following “continuous problems with crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour and violence with injury.”

Metropolitan Police officers told councillors that there had been a “clearly identifiable decrease” in crime around the area since Vybz Bar had been shut down and opening another nightclub would be “undoing all the hard work” they had done. One officer said they believe the closure “has saved lives”.

The committee were told that Harlesden has “prolonged problems” with the supply of drugs. A Met Police representative said: “If a late night venue opens in the area, this will fuel the [drug dealing] activity further and provide the drug dealers with a new supply of customers.” 

They added: “When Vybz Bar was operating, there were problems with human waste, mainly urine and defecation, litter, and noise in addition to the obstruction that was caused by police cordons following incidents of serious violence. […] There’s no reason a similar premises in the same location would be any different”.

Residents opposed to the plan called the 4am closure time “extreme” and claimed the noise from the previous bar could be heard many roads away. One, who claimed to be speaking on behalf of around 12 other residents, said: “The level of noise from the garden was absolutely unbearable […] it reached probably about half a mile beyond that”.

They added: “Everyday, especially on the weekends, until five in the morning […] it was like being in the middle of a Wembley concert in your own garden. It’s shouting, screaming, fighting, music, all the time. Constantly.”

There were also claims from the licensing inspector that Mr Adjel had links to the previous owners of Vybz Bar and that the building of a wooden structure in the garden of the premises didn’t have planning permission. Mr Adjel denied both of these suggestions and called on the council to not judge him by the failures of the former bar.

He said: “I acknowledge the problems raised about noise for residents and the lack of security but I have countered issues with noise management and public safety that Vybz Bar didn’t”.

Mr Adjel told the committee that the structure in the garden will be soundproofed so the neighbours aren’t disturbed. This work hasn’t been completed, therefore, no professional testing of this has been done. 

He added: “To tackle crime and disorder I am going to have Security Industry Authority (SIA) trained security who will search people coming into the premises in case of anyone coming in with illegal substances. They will also have handheld metal detectors to prevent people coming in with sharp objects, such as knives.

In documents, Mr Adjel had stated: “If a licence to operate until 4am is granted, the public, the police and the company will all benefit. Craven Park appears to have a bad reputation in Harlesden, but if given the chance, I would like to be the one to make a good difference.”

However, the council were not convinced and rejected the plan. They raised concerns over the potential for crime and disorder to take place, citing Mr Adjel’s “inexperience and unfamiliarity” with the licensing objectives, as well as “inconsistencies” in both the application and the answers he gave to the committee.