All Bar One – Outside Seating (Decision)

NoOn 12th April 2019 Lambeth Council made a decision in reference to application 19/00593/VOC by Mitchell & Butler Retail Ltd.  requesting permission to place seating under the canopy area outside All Bar One on Chicheley Street (see previous post).

Following submissions by County Hall Freehold Limited and many residents, Lambeth Council decided to refuse the application.

Submission Type:Variation of Conditions
Submission Date:Fri 15 Feb 2019
Public Consultation Ends:Wed 20 Mar 2019
Applicant:Mitchells And Butlers Retail Limited
Case Officer:Ms Emily Leighton
Key Information:Summary
Important Dates

The summary of the reason for the decision was given as:

In the absence of sufficient information to demonstrate that the use of the forecourt of 1 Chicheley Street would not result in unacceptable amenity impacts to adjacent residential properties, in particular the residents of County Hall North Apartments, and would be managed in a way to ensure that overspill would not occur to the adjacent public footway, the removal of Condition 10 of application reference 18/03438/VOC is contrary to Policies Q2, ED7 and T6 of the Lambeth Local Plan (2015).

Super PowersThis decision notice clearly demonstrates that if owners and residents are made aware of the planning applications in and around the County Hall estate, and take the modest amount of time and effort to submit valid objections to such applications then it is possible to influence the outcome in a positive way.

Whilst it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Mitchell & Butler may appeal the decision, or submit a new application which attempts to address the reasons behind this refusal, we hope that this will encourage owners and residents to continue taking an active role in shaping the environment in which they live.

You can read the Decision Notice and Officer’s Report by following the links below:

Public Comments

Below are transcripts of the public comments submitted, taken from the Lambeth Planning Portal website:

(Objects)  Comment submitted date: Mon 25 Mar 2019

All Bar One – The proximity to the London Eye & Sth Bank means many people will visit. Unfortunately, outdoor tables do not get
cleared and resulting rubbish gets left around. Inadequate bins that do not get cleared will lead to the area being messy.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Thu 21 Mar 2019

I wish to object to this proposal and add additional germane facts to the other objections received.
BREACH OF SMOKING REGULATIONS – The Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 [SI 2006/3368] and The Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2012 [SI 2012/1536]. Practice by All Bar One and Slug and Lettuce is and is confirmed in para 1.3 of the noise assessment that for the area under the overhang “this area is used for smoking”. This area satisfies the criteria of being a ‘substantially enclosed’ public place as defined by the regulations. The only place where signage is posted is outside the entrance to the apartments, and even then, Slug and Lettuce customers and staff smoke beside those signs, and customers smoke at the seats. I live above the bars and I have to close my windows repeatedly throughout the day and evening because of smoke coming into my apartment.
METHODOLOGY OF THE NOISE IMPACT ASSESSMENT 1) The noise survey was performed between 22:45 and 23:45 on a quiet weekday (Tuesday) evening mostly after the hours of operation of All Bar One. Consequently, the measurements will not be representative of ambient noise levels during opening hours when traffic is busier. 2) The surveyors state that normal conversational voice at 1 metre is 60dBA and project that 20 customers will generate 73dBA. Conversational voice depends on the setting and on the individual with published ranges for conversational voice in quiet rooms of 60-70dBA at 1 metre. 60dBA is a reasonable lower level for conversation for one person in a quiet room but not on a moderately busy street with 20 people talking simultaneously. 3) The surveyors estimated aggregate noise of level of 73dBA is simply additive and assumes that each person will continue to speak at 60dBA without raising their voice because of the ‘cocktail party effect’. If the surveyors used the upper range for indoor conversation of 70dBA the consequent effect of 20 people talking simultaneously would be 83dBA which is perceptibly different to the estimates in their report.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Wed 20 Mar 2019

Excellent comments, for refusal of planning permission, have already been made by some of the residents, of whom I am one.
Additionally, I would like to point out that the application contravenes Lambeth Councils “Nightime Economy” (ED7 – Noise) conditions of balancing the needs of residents and those of business paras (b) and (c). That Slug and Lettuce have managed to get a waiver for their premises cannot be considered a precedent to allow all and sundry to pollute the atmosphere and prevent residents from peaceful enjoyment of their properties. Presently, the spill over onto the pavement of people from All Bar One make it difficult to navigate the pavement – apart from cigarette butts and other detritus making the whole area quite disgusting.
Regarding the Study by Hepworth’s what can one say – another concocted study taking us as fools and unable to understand their glossy documentation! The study says that the noise level is lower than the ambient level however it ignores the fact that this will be additive to the existing level of noise. Incidentally, according to the Met. office between 22.00 to 22.59, on the day in question, the outside temperature was around 2C with some rain – not quite a pleasant spring/summer evening!
Whilst acknowledging the importance of business to the local economy, it should never be forgotten that this is a residential area shortly to be expanded by the new developments. This pernicious tendency to clear out residents in favour of “business” that has no commitment to the area and will disappear at the slightest downturn has to be resisted. Residents matter – we live here! This and any other similar application (s) should be rejected out of hand.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Wed 20 Mar 2019

As the owner of an apartment in County Hall I object to this application. There is no need for the area in question to be used as a seating area. There is adequate provision for seating in the many bars and restaurants in and around the area of the premises. The use of an external area will increase the noise level in the street to the detriment of the occupants of residential premises close to the location. This is evident, notwithstanding contrary claims, from the increasing number of notices at locations with such external seating asking patrons to show respect to local residents. External seating will also lead to impeding access across the footpath on a street that will have significant vehicular traffic with the completion of the neighbouring large scale development. The use of the outdoor space for setting will also lead to an increase in the untidiness of the location with tables left uncleared of detritus, some of which will find it way inevitably onto the pathway.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Wed 20 Mar 2019

My flat overlooks Chicheley Street [TEXT REDACTED] above All Bar One. For context, with my windows closed, as they are whilst I write you these comments, I can hear noises as subtle as a tourist dragging a suitcase along the pavement, or a running car engine (at the quiet end of the spectrum of noises I hear). My windows are not double glazed, I do not wish to install a secondary window to block out the noise, and due to the Grade II listed status of the building I am not able to change the windows of my flat.

With my windows open, the noise is worse. My flat is 420 square feet, so in summer it is stuffy and humid and I am in the middle of a corridor with fire doors at each end. I have to use the delimiter on the windows just to be able to let air circulate in my flat; but doing so comes with the problem of hearing everything even louder. Air conditioning was not allowed in the 1995 planning approval since County Hall Apartments is within the bounds of the South Bank Conservation Area.

I have become accustomed to the array of sounds that pour into my window, but the noise levels when I moved here were significantly less. The area was so much less built up that the bars weren’t as busy as they are now, and while the area always attracts tourists and traffic, the noises were more of that nature. As the Waterloo area has developed, and the social scene become more popular, the bars have gotten busier and the noise has intensified.

It requires a lot of patience to endure the current noises from the street. While many are not the fault of All Bar One, some of the most difficult evenings in my home are those spent listening to drunk people fight, or shout; and I genuinely have tears in my eyes trying to explain in writing how it feels to tell yourself over and over again that a sound can only continue for five minutes or so, and to be patient, knowing full well, as it does every time, that this isn’t going to end soon.

[TEXT REDACTED] With that in mind, the difficulty that I describe above from the sounds of drunken people on the street has only doubled; and while I develop more patience, and I take each day as it comes, I also begin to feel trapped in what feels will be a never-ending situation where I cannot enjoy even a little bit of peace in my own home. First it was the noise and change in privacy from the construction site across the road; and next it feels like there might be a full sidewalk of the public on my doorstep when I step outside, and the live soundtrack to their evening if I open my windows inside.

The noise is so bad that I sometimes need to turn my television up so loud that you can hear it at the other end of the corridor, to be able to hear it sitting in my lounge above the noises coming from the street.

May I take a moment to remind you that my comments above apply to the existing levels of noise, which occur frequently during the week (more day than night on weekdays) and without fail over the weekend (especially on a Friday / Saturday night). Further, those noise levels exist with there being no outdoor seating area. Whether it is people loitering outside drunk, or just groups of people drinking/smoking and socialising with friends; which as I understand, is an abuse of All Bar One’s existing Planning Consent which includes ‘no eating or drinking outside the premises’ – it tends to be noisy and I can therefore only imagine what the noise might be like if there is a legitimised seating area for patrons of a chain bar.

I refer to a chain bar because while comparison may be drawn to the restaurants which have outdoor seating areas, or the coffee shop across the road; people who go to have a coffee, tend to sit and drink their coffee and chat at their table; and people who go for dinner, tend to keep at a noise level acceptable to fellow diners; whereas people who go for a drink at a chain bar aren’t buying into any sort of pretence (and aren’t usually expecting others to do so), they are most often simply seeking to socialise and enjoy some alcohol, and while they aren’t coming here to try and disturb us, most people don’t even realise that they are drinking below a block of flats and so their behaviour isn’t really reflective of that.

All Bar One regularly apply to have their opening hours extended and Condition 4 removed to allow outside seating, eating and drinking and the assumption is that they will continue resubmitting applications until they overturn the ruling. I have witnessed other companies do the same, and ultimately succeed, and would hope that Lambeth council do appreciate that there are residents feeling very unheard here in County Hall and would protect residents from commercial businesses who have absolutely no respect for their neighbours but only to abuse Lambeth’s consents and conditions in order to increase profits.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Tue 19 Mar 2019

Our flat overlooks Chicheley Street [TEXT REDACTED] above All Bar One (ABO) and we would like to object to the above planning application for the following reasons:
County Hall North Block is predominantly residential with approx. 50 flats overlooking Chicheley Street, the majority of which have a single aspect view, and it would be a serious detriment to the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of our homes if Lambeth gave consent for outdoor seating with food and drink to ABO customers.
ABO regularly apply to have their opening hours extended and Condition 4 removed to allow outside seating, eating and drinking and the assumption is that they will continue resubmitting applications until they overturn the ruling!
They continue to abuse their existing Planning Consent which includes ‘no eating or drinking outside the premises’ and therefore residents are disturbed by the noise from inebriated customers on an almost daily basis which becomes particularly bad in the summer when large groups of very noisy drinkers congregate out to the kerb line obstructing passers-by. We are also disturbed by their deliveries and rubbish removal trucks outside the hours of their consent and by their kitchen smells.
Despite complaining to the Enforcement Officer over the years rarely is anything done to deal with the problem. Meanwhile there’s also the issue of smoke entering our flats (ABO admit on this application that smokers stand outside, whilst drinking) and again this is particularly difficult for residents when we have our windows open both during the summer and as often as we can in the cooler months. We don’t have air conditioning as this was not allowed in the 1995 planning approval since we’re within the bounds of the South Bank Conservation Area.
With regard to Hepworth Acoustic’s Noise Impact Assessment the anticipated noise impact @ 1m away from the fa├žade will be 73 dBa from 20 adults talking at normal conversational speech, which is half the number of anticipated occupants of that area, as stated by JTS Partnership. Are we to assume the other 20 adults are absolutely silent and not drinking, eating or smoking? Our experience suggests they will be talking very loudly, shouting, laughing and usually shrieking as well as smoking, and drinking. Lambeth should be fully aware that once alcohol enters the equation the noise levels increase and increase!
An acoustic survey we commissioned in 1999 by Equus (attached), shows noise levels were 41 dBa to 54 dBa so there’s been a considerable increase in noise that we’ve had to adjust to over the last 20 years and it’s appalling we might be expected to endure even more noise into our homes? How much do we have to tolerate before Lambeth say enough is enough?
We moved into our home in 1996 when a Bank occupied the ABO premises so the Company were aware from the start this was a residential area and therefore cannot expect to bully us into submission by continuing to apply for changes to their conditions.
Despite having double glazing we have had to install secondary glazing to protect ourselves from the noise impact from ABO and the adjacent Slug and Lettuce however the noise on a summer’s evening can be quite unbearable, which is probably why the Hepworth noise survey was done late evening in January! A commercial ploy if ever we heard one!!! Even our secondary glazing doesn’t cut out shouting and very loud talk.
We would hope that Lambeth, who gave consent for 600 flats at County Hall back in 1995 and for the almost completed 900 flats within Southbank Place across the road from us, would protect residents from commercial businesses who have absolutely no respect for their neighbours but only to abuse Lambeth’s consents and conditions in order to increase profits.
Surely we deserve better than that? Please refuse this application?

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Sun 17 Mar 2019

Both All Bar One and neighbouring Slug and Lettuce are unwelcome businesses. Their basement areas are a disgrace with serious vermin, and hygiene issues that should be resolved by council intervention.

From a pure business angle they could look to improve their services rather than extending their area or hours to the detriment of the residents. They attract the very dregs of a customer base, particularly late at night, and the external areas reek of urine, and vomit, littered with cigarette butts. The noise nearing closing time can be heard from Jubilee Gardens – It is a disgrace that residents should put up with this let alone countenance extensions to their licensing or outside seating – which is of course used almost exclusively by smokers.

All Bar One manages to attract over 100 One Star ratings on Trip Advisor many citing poor management and poor hygiene.

For example:

Reviewed 22 November 2018 via mobile
Angry short manager
The angry short manager was clearly stressed, rude and aggressive. They had issues with their sewerage and the place smells like they are harbouring the relics of London’s famous fat burg. Beer was flat, if this sounds good, it’s definitely for you.
Date of visit: November 2018

GeneralManagerA22, Guest Relations Manager at All Bar One Waterloo, responded to this review
Responded 5 December 2018

Hi 348stur, thank you for taking the time to write your review about your experiance here at All Bar One Waterloo, may i start by apologising that on this occasion your visit was not up to high standards; unfortunatley there was an incident invloving the adjacent building where there was an overflow issue which caused the smell, engineers attended that day, we have also spoken with the team member in which you mention. I hope we have addressed the issues you experianced with us and hope you visit us again in the near future to rebuild your confidence in us.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Fri 15 Mar 2019

When I bought my flat in 1998, the premises now occupied by All Bar One were used by a building Society. Since All Bar One took over the premises noise levels have increased year after year, whether it’s the bass reverberations from their loud music or the sound of scraping heavy furniture (often in the middle of the night )
All Bar One have shown very little ability to police the area outside their premises. Patrons regularly spill out onto the pavement to smoke, drop their fag ends and drink ( against the current conditions set down ) Their hours extend from 9am to 11pm. After closing It often takes an hour or so for people to disperse, then the heavy furniture inside is rearranged, and rubbish and bottles are noisily dumped. The final loud slam of their door is often about 12.30. I am concerned that, if this proposition is allowed, the extra tables outside will entail even more noise and the extended impact will lead further into the night.

[TEXT REDACTED] All my windows open on to Chicheley Street. I therefore feel uniquely qualified to refute the sound research document prepared by ‘Hepworth Acoustics’
Hepworth carried out their ‘test’ on Tuesday 22nd January, hardly the busiest night of the year. Surely a summer Friday or Saturday evening would have been more indicative of the level of noise we could expect when the lighter evenings afford drinkers longer opportunity and desire to gather outside, smoke, drink, shout, and become louder and louder and more aggressive. There have been arguments and one or two occasions even fights.

Hepworth talk in ‘pseudo scientific’ jargon about the acceptable volume of the human voice. I am sure that we all know the volume of human voices go up in direct relationship to the ingestion of alcohol. I have double glazed windows and secondary glazing, and cannot hear the traffic noise  outside, but I can still hear the voices from All Bar One. Traffic noise is transient by its very nature, but the human voices down below my apartment are stationary. It would be nice to enjoy my apartment with the windows open, but added to the noise would be the acrid smell of burgers and fried chips all day long ( a smell some residents are already familiar with, inside the building ) 

Another concern of mine is that the pavement which has now been narrowed to create a taxi waiting lane, will become more congested when the smokers and aggressive ‘outside’ drinkers, moved further out into the street by the tables, collide with passing tourists and people waiting at the bus stop.

On the other side of Chicheley Street there is a sign advertising the new luxury apartments costing millions. On my side of the the road with the smokers and the taxis, and the maybe soon the stink of fried food all day, Lambeth are making this residential area uninhabitable.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Fri 15 Mar 2019

I object strongly to All Bar One’s application for outside seating.
Smokers from the bar already clog the narrow pavement, restricting passage for passersby and local residents alike. Tables will make it worse, and force non-sitting smokers further along the pavement, extending the often impolite crowd and clouds of smoke through which pedestrians must make their way. As it is, smokers from All Bar One often all but block the entrance to County Hall when they seek shelter from rain.
Outdoor seating will add to the already unacceptable level of litter, from cigarette butts to vermin-attracting food waste, napkins, fast food boxes, etc. Lambeth Council would do well to factor in added cleaning costs when considering the application.
The noise level report cannot be taken at face value as it was done by a firm contracted by All Bar One, which chose Tuesday in the middle of winter to do the assessment. A more representative time would have been Friday and Saturday nights, when many more drinkers spill out onto the street, shouting, shrieking and hurling profanity.
And to argue that the levels are below the existing ambient is disingenuous. They still add to a level which is already hardly what residents pay ever increasing rates to enjoy.
I fail to see why local residents should also pay a price in decreased livability for the sake of All Bar One’s profits, which I venture to guess add considerably less to council coffers than our combined council taxes do.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Thu 14 Mar 2019

I am a resident of County Hall Apartments. Since acquiring my apartment, I have become aware of a steady deterioration in the living environment for residents. Commercial entities are constantly pushing for longer operating hours, bigger and brighter signage and expansion of their activities into the outdoor spaces surrounding us. They just keep asking for more. The original restrictions on their operations, however sensible the reasons they were imposed in the first place, seem to count for nothing. Sometimes, as in the case of the operating hours extension recently granted to the applicant in this case, the initial application is refused but magically slips through a month later. Residents do not have the expertise or time to constantly monitor these types of applications, nor do they have ressources for the professional support available to large companies like Bass Breweries. Our commercial neighbours show no regard for the residents who live here. Outdoor pub seating directly beneath residents’ bedrooms should not be allowed. Residents would have to put up with increased noise pollution-patrons get louder when they have been drinking, more toxic smoke pollution,more untidiness, dirt and litter-outdoor food consumption and uncleared outdoor tables and floor areas are a real problem for us and have encouraged pigeons and crows ( see Starbucks in Forum Magnum Square), and even foxes. The Slug and Lettuce should never have been granted outdoor seating permission. Please do not allow their permission to be used as a precedent to cause residents even more damage.

(Objects)  Comment submitted date: Mon 11 Mar 2019

We object on the grounds of noise and restricting the pavement movement.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Fri 08 Mar 2019

Allowing additional capacity and extending opening hours on what is already an overcrowded bar will further detrimentally impact this residential area. There is already a noise and litter problem which will be greatly exacerbated by this proposal. The noise impact assessment is not representative of this area having been performed on a Tuesday night in the middle of winter. How this can be construed to represent the actual activity on a weekend at almost any other time of year is preposterous, and shows that this study is simply a token one.
In addition to seated clients, the current volume of clientele that stand outside will increase, and the litter, not just limited to cigarette butts, along with them. When walking along that section of street in the mornings after a busy evening, one negotiates an obstacle course of vomit, cigarette ends and trash. The equivalent permission for the Slug & Lettuce should never have been granted, and certainly not taken as a precedent for this application.

I strongly object to this proposal.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Fri 08 Mar 2019

I absolutely object to Mitchell & Butlers application to extend seating outside (underneath the overhang) of All Bar One. This will add to further noise pollution in an already extremely busy area. This is a major pedestrian artery from Waterloo station to the London Eye. Any increase of public space outside these bar/restaurant venues specifically in this area inevitably leads to groups of people not just sitting but standing thereby blocking the footpath. There are a number of wheelchair users resident at County Hall who have to be considered. Blocked pavements leads to pedestrians being obliged to walk on the road. With the increasing number of businesses and apartments traffic has increased on this fairly narrow area particularly on the corner occupied by All Bar One. For residents of County Hall needing to acccess the underground car park further activity on the All Bar One corner is a further hazard to negotiate.

More people, more noise, more rubbish, more hazards – congestion specifically on this corner area should be flagged as an accident waiting to happen.

For the above reasons I object to the Application to extend seating outside.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Thu 07 Mar 2019

Contrary to the misleading noise report – this will have a detrimental impact on the surrounding area and specifically the residential nature of the area.
The noise report does not seem to account for the impact of a summers evening when the venue would have large stag and hen parties shrieking, laughing and generally being drunk and boisterous in the street – I am not convinced that the report will still be ‘below the existing ambient noise level’.
The crowds do not dissipate quickly, so you will have an additional 40, potentially drunk, people on the streets at closing time, hanging around until after the closing time.
The impact of rubbish and food waste should also be considered. By opening the street to more outdoor seating for food and drinks there will be a large negative impact to the area after closing. Plastic cups will have to be used which are bad for the environment and although i am sure a best effort will be made to clear the area, litter is a problem in this street – which will be further exaserbated. food waste will further draw vermin to the area, which is not desirable.
By allowing an additional 40 covers will not increase the ‘support for the local economy’ as it will just see the indoor patrons move to the outdoor area.
the area is trying to lift itself up with all the redevelopment, and having a low end bar allowing its patrons to spill onto the streets will not help raise the desirability of the area.
the restrictions were put on this lease in the first place for a reason, and i see no reason why they should be lifted purely due to the passage of time.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Thu 07 Mar 2019

My sister and I own [TEXT REDACTED]. We object to the proposal for external seating by the entrance on the grounds of noise pollution, litter and crowds resulting in loss of amenity for neighbouring residential property.

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Thu 07 Mar 2019

I am concerned about increased noise level with this proposal. We already have a lot of noise from the bars outside and this will increase it. There will also be greater obstruction to the pavement area

 (Objects)  Comment submitted date: Mon 04 Mar 2019

I do not support this application because of potential noise issues. I live in a flat over this establishment. The noise study was done late on a Tuesday evening in January and does not reflect what the noise would be like on a summers evening, particularly at weekends.
I also do not support the extension to opening hours. The users of this establishment do not disperse immediately at closing time so any extension will mean that there is noise for a longer time.

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