BBC Club at New Broadcasting House given go-ahead after mistakenly applying for a 24-hour alcohol licence

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The BBC has been given the go-ahead to run a club for employees in New Broadcasting House after mistakenly applying for a 24-hour alcohol licence. Employees and their guests will be able to order drinks until 11.30pm and listen to live music until midnight most nights under the revised application approved by Westminster City councillors on June 5.

The council’s licensing committee heard how the venue, previously located in Wogan House, will sit above the BBC’s newsroom in New Broadcasting House and won’t be accessible to the general public. Lawyers representing BBC Club Sports and Leisure Ltd – one of two BBC divisions operating at the Portland Place site – said an application for a 24-hour licence had mistakenly been filed by an employee they said worked on it alone.

According to a council report, the wrong type of application had also been submitted. The Met Police and Westminster City Council officers had originally opposed the 24-hour licence but withdrew their concerns after a new application was submitted reducing operations to core hours, council documents show.

Objectors at Wednesday’s meeting welcomed the new application but said they were still concerned about the level of noise the venue might create. They accused the BBC Club Sports and Leisure of being ‘far from an ideal neighbour’ when they were located at Wogan House.

One objector said: “[It’s] a shame because it is a significant presence in the [area] and there are benefits, but not for residents. The BBC, as an institution, isn’t following the complaints that they get.” BBC Club Sports and Leisure said it operated the old venue without serious complaint. It also said live music at the venue would be ‘extremely limited’ and drowned out by the building.

The revised application also states no sale or consumption of alcohol will take place outside the venue. The new licence will take effect as soon as a previous licence for Wogan House is surrendered.

A Westminster City Council report shows BBC Club Sports and Leisure applied for a new premises licence to give local authorities ‘clarity’ over who would be managing the employee-dedicated social club. BBC Club Sports and Leisure operates under different management to the BBC.

The BBC has had a licence in place for New Broadcasting House since 2005 which will now become a de facto shadow licence. BBC Club was founded in 1924 as a private members club but is now an employee membership club consisting of an event space, a gym, food and drink services which is open to employees and their partners, according to its website.


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