Over 5,000 people have signed a petition to “save” Canavan’s Pool Club in Peckham, after fears that a review of its premises licence could see it close.
Kieran Canavan, who manages the Rye Lane venue, believes he has been caught out by a snag in Southwark Council’s bureaucracy for planning approval and venue licensing.
Three weeks ago he received a letter accusing the venue of hosting club nights and operating as a pool venue without permission.
But Kieran says the club has been a home for pool players since it obtained a licence in 2005, and was granted a licence to play music and films until 4am in 2011 – when he became manager.
The confusion arose because it turns out Canavan’s also needed ‘change of use’ planning approval to move on from being just a snooker club, and instead be used for pool and night-time entertainment, as well as a licence.
Having made the additional application to set the record straight, he has learnt that the case will be put to a vote by councillors on Southwark’s Planning Committee.
The 50-year-old, who employs fifteen people and lives at the club, told the News: “My predecessor John Kelly got a licence to turn the place into a pool club rather than a snooker club in 2005. Then I got a licence in 2011 for live music and films in 2011.
“But under planning laws I should get automatic permission if the building has already been used for a function for ten years, which it has been. Now I’m trying to find proof that it’s been a pool club since then so I tell the council. It would really help if people can comment on the council’s website.
“I would be put out of businesses if we stopped being a nightclub. Why couldn’t the council’s planning and licensing officers just speak to each other and sort this out. Why wasn’t I told what to do properly to begin with?”
Kieran also fears the committee might refuse Canavan’s permission to carry on as a night club because of noise complaints, but says the source of noise can be people misbehaving outside, who he has a duty to deny entrance if they have had too much to drink.
“I don’t want to sound big-headed,” he said, “but Peckham’s popularity is down the likes of the Bussey, us, and the artistic community. London just lost Fabric nightclub and Passing Clouds. Lerryn’s Café closed its garden because of one complaining resident. We need to protect the heart of Peckham.”
The council’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, Mark Williams, told the News: “Canavan’s has an application being considered by our planning team.
“We will hear the views of local residents and hopefully we will have a decision on this soon. Canavan’s is a very popular club and my view is we want to nurture a healthy night time economy in Peckham.
“Having the scheme at Peckham Levels with the work of Bold Tendencies and Mountview Academy with new restaurants and bars is how to get that. We saw the Bussey Building face concern over a new development and our officers worked with them to get it changed to a commercial space. It’s something we want to protect.”