Pub chain asks for 2am licence at former Topshop

Posted On 17 May 2022 at 4:26 pm

The former Topshop unit, now being used as an NHS vaccination centre


A pub chain has applied for a 2am licence on the first floor of the former Topshop unit in Churchill Square.

The Botanist, which already has branches around the UK, wants a licence to serve alcohol and food and for the performance of both live and recorded music until 2am from Thursday to Saturday, closing at 2.30am.

From Sunday to Wednesday, it wants the same activities, but until 1am, closing at 1.30am.

Spacewords Brighton

Churchill Square says it has also submitted a planning application for alterations to the unit, which is currently being used by the NHS as a walk-in vaccination centre.

The application, submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council by The Botanist’s parent company New World Trading Company, acknowledges that the site is within the council’s cumulative impact zone (CIZ), where there are strict rules on issuing licences.

The activities it is asking for are more typical of nightclubs, and the council has a policy of not granting new club or even pub licences within the city centre.

However, it believes it can demonstrate “exceptional circumstances” which mean it should get a licence.

Council policy does recommend granting new restaurant licences within the CIZ, but only with opening hours up to midnight.

The application says: “The proposed premises is a restaurant and bar situated on the first floor, accessed via a ground floor lobby entrance.

“We are aware of the premises’ location within Brighton and Hove’s cumulative impact area policy. Accordingly, this application is supported by statements and relevant documentation addressing the various points within the CIP to confirm its exceptional circumstances of the application.”

Mark Buchanan Smith, centre director at Churchill Square, said: “We can confirm we have submitted a planning application and are working closely with The Botanist in support of their licensing application.

“We believe they would be a great addition to Brighton, and further diversify our tenant mix here at Churchill Square.”

As well as a licence, a pub or restaurant would also need to get a change of use under planning to open in that unit, or any of Churchill Square’s other units which have been used for retail up to now.

However, a recent change in planning law has made it much easier for commercial buildings to get a change in use.

Previously, shops and restaurants had two different use classes, A1 and A3. Now both are in a new use class, E, which also includes a range of commercial uses such as banks, bowling alleys, clinics and offices.

However, pubs have changed from A4 to sui generis, which means not belonging to any other classification.

Churchill Square’s planning application is not yet on the council’s planning portal.

  1. Dave Reply

    Great idea, close to transport and the area is dead after 6pm, no residents nearby but BHCC will never allow it. The impact zone is up there as one of the most dumb policies ever conceived and is actually counter productive as everywhere now kicks out at the same time. It’s changed Brighton from being a great night out to a pretty boring one with horrible beach clubs the last places to go on a night out. Real missed opportunity.

  2. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Apart from the vaccination, I have not been in Churchill Square for many years. Life is better without that hideous mall. To think it used to be much-needed houses.

  3. Dude Reply

    My flat is right next to Churchill Square, so this idea can do-one.

    • Clayton Reply

      I used to live 3 doors away from a pub in central Brighton. Do you know what 8 didn’t do. Complain about it or expect the world to alter for me coz when I went to look at the place I went ‘oh look a pub that’s already here. Well that will have to be considered when I choose whether or not to move in a few doors down from a business I know will make noise but has been here a couple hundred years’.

      If you live in the centre of a city then you accept these things will be a factor. The only residential areas next to Churchill square already have numerous licenced premises present.

  4. Robert Curtis Reply

    There are residents that this definitely does affect right opposite above Imperial Arcade. We already suffer enough noise from Churchill Square, and will certainly object to this noisy and disruptive proposal.

    • Bob Travis Reply

      Why live in the city centre then…

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