Brondesbury Park Synagogue gets licence for alcohol and music

Brondesbury Park Synagogue has been given a licence from Brent Council.

Brondesbury Park Synagogue has been given a licence from Brent Council. - Credit: Google Maps

A synagogue can now serve alcohol until 11.30pm and play music until 11.45pm – despite concerns from its neighbours.

Brent Council licensing bosses approved an application by Brondesbury Park Synagogue that will allow it to serve alcohol at events held between 10am and 11.45pm – seven-days-a-week.

At a licensing committee meeting on November 30, there were objections from residents and councillors, who said it could boost antisocial behaviour.

The synagogue has said it only intends to sell alcohol at "occasional ticketed events where the alcohol is included in the ticket price", but with drinks served at other events.

"We are first and foremost a synagogue, who do good work within and outside of the Jewish community," said a spokesperson after the meeting.   

Russell De Rozario, who has lived opposite the synagogue for the past 20 years, told the meeting there have been problems with noise when the venue has held events in the past.

He said: “It’s just a residential street and we could really do without the noise – we just want to live somewhere nice.”

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Robert Dicks, who lives a few doors away from the synagogue, said there have been issues with parking as his neighbours’ cars have been blocked in.

He added there are fears about trucks delivering food, drink and music equipment, despite assurances that these will only take place between 9am and 6pm.

Locals say they have tried to raise their objections with the synagogue, with one telling the meeting they have been met with “aggressive security”. 

Local councillor Erica Gbajumo said there are often “blazing lights” coming from the synagogue.

She said residents are worried the licence would make noise and light issues worse.

“They just want to get some peace and quiet and sleep and they are worried this won’t happen with lights blazing until that time,” she said.

She added there could be issues with guests “chatting” at night, when events at the synagogue end. 

For the synagogue, lawyer Julian Overton, explained there was “no intention” of turning the synagogue into a disco or banqueting hall. 

He said it would look to host up to three events a month and that granting a licence would enable these to be better regulated. 

He explained there are a number of conditions attached to the licence – agreed to by the Metropolitan Police and Brent Council licensing officers – that should ease residents’ concerns. 

These include putting measures in place to ensure people leave quietly, keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible and having a point of contact for neighbours to discuss any issues.

A spokesperson for Brondesbury Park Synagogue said after the meeting: "Whilst the license grants us the ability to sell alcohol, this is to cover occasional ticketed events where alcohol will be served. We do not intend to ‘sell’ alcohol as a bar would for example.

"Our neighbours have never been met with ‘aggressive security’ when they have raised objections. We have taken steps to engage with our neighbours and any complaints have been dealt with in a timely and polite manner. We recently invited all neighbours to meet with us at the synagogue, which took place on Sunday, November 28, where we laid on refreshments, took our neighbours on a tour of the new building, and gave everybody a chance to air their views and discuss any concerns. The meeting was both cordial and constructive and we look forward to continuing to engage positively with our neighbours in a spirit of mutual respect. 

"We are committed to working within all of the points on the license and are in the process of appointing someone solely to ensure we are working within the correct parameters.

"We are first and foremost a synagogue, who do good work within and outside of the Jewish community. The building represents the heart of our community, a place where families gather, children come to learn, and we congregate to pray. We do a lot of work supporting other communities, and this building will be our central hub for coordinating all our volunteering efforts."