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Objection to RPVFC License Application

Letter to the Licensing Team at Merton Council from RPWBRA 

18 May 2021 

Licensing Application: WK/202103135 

Dear Sir/Madam, 

We write to object in the strongest terms to the above application.   

We are the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association, which was founded in 1928, and has some 1800 household members.  Our area includes the whole of Prince George’s Playing Fields, on part of which sits the Raynes Park Vale Football Club (RPVFC), as well as Cannon Hill Common.  

Many of our members live in the streets nearest to the application site, which are Berrylands, Cannon Close, Heath Drive, Parkway, Cannon Hill Lane, and Grand Drive, as well as all the roads off Grand Drive.  If the application were to be granted, the whole area will be very seriously affected from morning until very late at night on every day of the week throughout the year. 

Prince George’s Playing Fields is designated as Metropolitan Open Land and as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, Grade 2. 

It is extensively used for public recreation and has been invaluable as such during the lockdowns.  It is used at weekends for football matches.  The whole site is subject to planning controls imposed by the Council in 2009 which restrict the use of the Fields to 14 sales events and 14 other events in the year. Vehicular access to the site for these purposes is off Bushey Road. 

The Football Club is situated on the south side of the footpath that leads from Grand Drive to Whatley Avenue.  Vehicular access to this is from Grand Drive along the footpath.  This also provides access to the extensive playing fields of the French Lycee, whose grounds and changing rooms are not open to the public.  The Lycee has both female and male pupils of all ages. Their grounds are opposite the clubhouse of RPVFC and are heavily used. 

The clubhouse of RPVFC is very close to the houses in Berrylands and Grand Drive.  This is currently being extended to allow for groups of 150 people at wedding parties and other gatherings.  The Club is also building an extensive decking area which it intends to use for outdoor entertainment, including music and films.   

RPVFC has already a club licence to provide alcohol for its Members and their guests from 11 am to 11 pm with music allowed during the same times.  This licence is subject to stringent conditions to prevent the disturbance of local residents.  

These include that when regulated entertainment is being provided, all doors and windows should be kept shut. At the same time, patrols should take place on an hourly basis at the perimeter of the property to ensure that there is no sound escape. If there is such an escape, action should be taken immediately to reduce the noise to a level that is not audible at the nearest residential property. After 11pm patrols should also address noisy patrons outside their premises. A logbook is to be kept to record such patrols and should be made available for inspection by Council officers. 

The Club also has to put up clear signs at the exit points stating: “This is a residential area, please leave quietly”. 

Quite clearly, the provision of decking outside the clubhouse, where people can take food and drinks, and listen to music, and watch films, would be totally inconsistent with the present conditions that are designed to protect residents. The “regulated entertainment” is also intended under the present application to continue to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 1.30 am on New Year’s Eve.      

The present application goes very much further than the provision of alcohol for Members and their guests.  The intention is to sell food and alcohol on a commercial basis to the public generally.


The application is being made by a catering company which has run local pubs as licensees for the past 25 years. We understand that a portion of the profits it hopes to make will be shared with the Club.  In their post on the social media site Nextdoor on 17.4.21 the proprietors say that: 

         “The club already has a licence for its members and we just want to open up a bit to the    locals… The vision is to have a nice area for locals to stop off and socialise. The outside area however will only be open till 10pm. May I point out that there will be no amplified music on the decking just nice acoustic individuals and duets. There will be some nice craft beers available as well as a nice wine list and a few simple cocktails (as in Pimms on the deck). There will also be a fresh food offering … Our opening hours will be 12.00 midday till 11 pm Mon to Sun. We have applied for longer licenses to allow some flexibility with our weddings etc”. 

However, despite these public assurances from the proprietors, this is NOT what has been applied for. The application, were it to be granted, would allow for more latitude, including the holding of noisy outdoor events late into the night. 

We object under the following four grounds:


A. The prevention of crime and disorder 

The site is isolated being up a footpath and is in the middle of open land.  At night it is completely dark except for any lighting from the Club. There are no street lights and there is no lighting on the footpath. In the winter it is dark by 4pm. 

It would be inappropriate to install outdoor lighting leading to and from the Clubhouse because it would disturb local residents.   And have a negative impact on wildlife (foraging bats and owls). Further, all development on Metropolitan Open Land has to be “essential” in support of the permitted use of outdoor sport unless “very special circumstances” can be demonstrated otherwise. Lighting and decking would almost certainly be in conflict with the MOL designation of the whole site. 

 The proposal is to have unregulated drinking by members of the public. It is hard to see how members of RPVFC could easily control excess drinking or disturbances.  There will be times when there are over 150 people on the site. Women would be at particular risk in such a situation.  Licensed public houses are accessible from the public highway. This is not. There are no police patrols in the area. The risk is self- evident, and high.

B. Public safety. 

The same points as above apply. 

C. The prevention of public nuisance 

The Fields are designated for the quiet enjoyment of open space.  Residents and their families use the Fields for informal games, exercise, dog-walking, and to de-stress (access to green spaces being good for mental and physical health). Having a pub there is totally outside the purpose of the designation of the Fields as Metropolitan Open Land. 

There is very limited car parking at the site, and most people will come by car.  If the cars are parked on the rest of Prince’s George’s field it will damage the surface and disturb the wildlife.  Cars would be coming in and out of the Grand Drive entrance very late into the night.  There is limited parking also on Grand Drive and the surrounding streets. Residents would be disturbed nightly by car doors slamming, and people talking, often over loudly. There would be the potential for car theft and damage.  There would some likelihood of an increase in drink driving in the area. 

If people came by taxi or minicab there would be further disturbance. 

Noise from the decking, and other outdoor drinking will be heard over a very wide area, in a totally residential area. Light pollution would also be seen until very late.

Many of our residents work long hours and do not wish to be disturbed in their evening hours or their sleep. They wish to enjoy the quiet of their gardens at the weekends or on summer evenings. 

Many of our residents have families and will not want their children exposed to the noise from a “Pub”, nor have their sleep disturbed. 

In the past the gates to the access to the Fields off Grand Drive were locked at night to prevent the stealing/dumping and torching of cars. They could no longer be locked during the hours of darkness if this application was approved. 

In recent months a coffee stall has been placed next to the clubhouse and an Artisans’ Market has grown up at weekends.  The result has been a great increase in littering in the surrounding area and on Cannon Hill Common, which the bins do not fully cater for. This can only increase if food and drink can be served outdoors to the public.   

D. The protection of children from harm. 

The decking is opposite the playing fields of the French Lycee.  The children would be in close proximity to people drinking alcohol on the outside decking. 

Girls and Boys sports teams also practise and play on the main field area of Prince George’s so it is not just a problem for the Lycee. Children also play freely there. 

They should not be in close proximity to adults who may become intoxicated. The best-regulated football clubs and pubs in the country have problems with alcohol and poor behaviour but do not have young unaccompanied children to worry about. 

Under age drinking already occurs on the Fields and Cannon Hill Common, with empty cans and bottles and nitrous oxide capsules being found. Having overage drinking there could increase this. 




John Elvidge, Chair of the RPWBRA 

18 May 2021


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