Premises licence granted to educational centre for events in Hitchin

The Block Hitchin

Creative Minds CIC will be able to run events from its premises at The Block in Hitchin's Churchgate, to raise money for its services - Credit: Google

An organisation that works with vulnerable young people in Hitchin has been granted a premises licence – despite concerns about noise.

Creative Minds CIC offers vocational training and positive activities for young people at risk of exclusion and exploitation at The Block Community Hub in Churchgate.

Over the past year they have run a number of events at their town centre premises in order to raise funds for their work with young people.

To run the events – involving the sale of alcohol – they have had to secure a series of individual ‘temporary event notices’.

A meeting of the North Herts District Council licensing sub-committee granted their application for a ‘premises licence’ on Wednesday.

Making the case for the licence, Creative Minds’ Amanda Ashley stressed that they did not want to open up the premises for licensed events seven days a week.

She pointed to baby showers, engagement parties and weddings, book launches and plays as the events they were targeting for the venue.

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She added that it would only be used on occasions, to raise funds for the organisation, stating there was "no funding around for work with young people at the moment".

Ms Ashley told the committee that they worked hard with with vulnerable young people  – and that they wouldn’t do anything that would jeopardise that.

But during the hearing nearby resident Chris Back appealed to the sub-committee to consider the noise that would be generated – particularly from the venue’s outdoor terrace.

Speaking more generally about the town centre, he said: “It’s never going to be quiet, but every extra source of noise is an extra disturbance – and sometimes an annoyance.

“It seems sometimes it’s a constant battle to keep a top on possible sources of noise.”

And he later said:”. .  I don’t believe that amplified sound should be allowed on the terrace at anytime.

“I would ask that – an arbitrary time, I agree –  9pm that the terrace use be ended,  just to give us some break."

Amir Salarkia from the council’s environmental protection team confirmed that some complaints had been received – relating to loud music and shouting, and he asked for a condition that would limit the use of the outdoor terrace to 9pm, “as a good compromise”.

But ultimately the sub-committee granted the licence as requested, which had already been revised.

As granted, the licence allows for Creative Minds to open the venue until midnight on Monday to Saturday and until 11pm on Sundays.

Alcohol can be sold from midday until 11pm Monday to Thursdays, 11.45pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 10pm on Sundays.

However outdoor performances of plays, films and the playing of music will have to cease by 9.30pm – and all licensable activities in the ‘outdoor space’ will have to end by 10pm.

No alcohol will be sold when the premises are used for educational purposes, Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm during term time.

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