Neighbour and councillor oppose Brighton ‘ice rink’ hotel’s drinks licence application

Neighbours are worried about late-night noise coming from a new Brighton hotel if it is granted a licence to sell alcohol.

But Brighton and Hove City Council licensing department withdrew its objections to the hotel – known as Q Square – after the owner Supercity Aparthotel agreed restrictions with the police.

The hotel – on the site of the old ice rink in Queen Square – would restrict sales to a limited selection of sealed bottles of wine for guests only.

And the wine would be on sale from 6am to midnight rather than 24 hours a day.

But a neighbour told a “virtual” council licensing panel that she was worried about the noise from the hotel’s balconies and whether staff would be able to ensure that guests behaved.

Claire Lachlan, who lives behind the new hotel, in Wykeham Terrace, told the panel today (Friday 22 May): “The concern is alcohol can be taken anywhere in the building. There are quite a lot of balconies and space outside.

“My understanding is they can just go anywhere and it can be consumed into the early hours of the morning. This would generate a lot of noise.”

Labour councillor Jackie O’Quinn, who chaired the panel hearing, said that guests could buy drinks from nearby premises with a 24-hour licence.

Ms Lachlan said that having to buy their drink from elsewhere would make it harder for the hotel’s guests.

She said she was concerned that the customers would be treated as more important than neighbours whose concerns would not be taken seriously by management.

But another member of the licensing panel, Conservative councillor Dee Simson, said that if a licence was granted, the conditions would require the hotel to resolve noise complaints with neighbours.

Councillor Simson said: “If they did not deal with that nuisance, you would be well within your right to call the licensing department for a review. They could then lose the licence.”

Green councillor Lizzie Deane addressed the panel on behalf of people living in her ward, St Peter’s and North Laine.

She was concerned that people living in nearby Church Street, particularly St Nicholas Lodge, would also be affected by noise from the hotel.

The Q Square hotel in Queen Square in Brighton

Councillor Deane was also worried that the hotel owner’s operating model could change from targeting business people staying for a week or more to those attracted to Brighton’s night life.

She said: “We are in very close proximity to West Street and the night clubs. Some go on for 24 hours and others close in the early hours of the morning at 4am, 5am and 6am.

“It would be quite easy for people to come back at 6am to buy a drink when they’re already in a lairy state.”

If a licence were to be granted, she asked the panel to make it from from noon to midnight.

Labour councillor Carmen Appich, the other member of the licensing panel, said: “It strikes me that 6am licensing hours would encourage people to drink through the night and continue drinking in their room which is not good for people’s health.

“When you’ve been out all night clubbing and you’ve just had your kebab and you’re walking back to your room, you’ll probably pay any price to get another drink.”

Councillor Lizzie Deane

Supercity Aparthotels general manager Tom Hardy said that he would be happy to accept restricted hours.

Mr Hardy said that Q Square, which opened in February, had 61 apartments and was currently hosting NHS staff and other key workers who need to provide ID before taking a room.

He said that the company had a great many long-term contracts with corporations and agencies at its Manchester and London aparthotels and would not want to disturb long-standing guests by moving into leisure.

Mr Hardy said: “We want to keep noise to a minimum. We run very strict noise control policies where we give one warning. We are very quick to evict people on the night.

“For us, the most important thing is looking after those corporate clients and agent bookings.

“We don’t want to upset them. We want to make sure clients are comfortable in their apartment. We cannot afford to have someone partying on the balcony.”

The panel retired to make its decision which it is due to publish within five working days.

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