Background to Our Licence Application

We need your support! We don’t ask often – but when we do, it’s because we need it.

We are applying for a new license, and we have until this Tuesday to collect letters in support of our application to give to Hackney Council. If you’re a local Hackney resident, business or have a strong link to Hackney, it would mean the world to us if you could take five minutes to write one – emails are fine.

What we’re petitioning for:

– We are asking for an extra two hours trading on Friday and Saturday nights, from 4am to 6am.
– In return we are offering to hand back more hours – from 12 to 2am Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays – a net reduction in hours.
– We are asking for this change because it would enable us to continue presenting world class live music and art – by moving loss making live music and arts events off the valuable days in the week to make way for commercial events, instead placing them on Friday and Saturday evenings before the weekend programme starts. To achieve this we need to shift the start and finish of the weekend programme back to make the timing viable.

In order to be valid, letters must be relevant to the Licensing Objectives – Prevention of Crime and Disorder; Prevention of Public Nuisance; Public Safety; Protection of Children From Harm

Points that you might consider – in your own words please:

– Village Underground has a world-class reputation for providing a platform for cutting-edge live music and arts events, it brings much to Shoreditch, Hackney and London.
– 6am is a better time to ask customers to leave than 4am – transport is fully running and ambient noise levels are much higher.
– VU has volunteered a reduction in hours during weekdays. This is a net reduction of hours overall and reduces any risk of public nuisance, crime or disorder at potentially more sensitive times of the week.
– Village Underground’s management team are incredibly professional and can be relied upon to ensure that public nuisance, crime or disorder will not be caused by the proposed change.
– If you live locally and have not experienced any public nuisance, crime or disorder from our operations, please be sure to mention this – also if applicable, including our history of events running until later hours under Temporary Event Notices.

Please share this with Hackney residents that would want to support our application.

These letters should be emailed to:

Please be sure to CC in and please mention ‘Village Underground license application’ in your email subject.

Or sent by post:

Licensing and Trading Standards
London Borough of Hackney
Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY

The representations must be submitted on or before the consultation expiry date which is the 30th of January. Any late representations will not be taken into account as relevant representations.

Please ensure any representations mention VU in the heading.

Some Background to Our Application:

For more than a decade Village Underground has brought thousands of high quality music and arts events to the area. We work with more than 1,500 artists performing to more than 150,000 people who visit from across Hackney, London, the UK and internationally each year.

These arts events are all loss making and Village Underground receives no public grant funding. Instead we have a social enterprise model that uses commercial income from corporate events to subsidise music and arts.

This cross subsidy mechanism no longer functions properly – our rent and rates have gone up hugely and our commitment to the London Living Wage Foundation has meant an increasing our wage bill every year. During this time it has not been possible, nor right, to increase tickets or drinks prices to anywhere near the same degree – like so many other music venues, we are losing the margin that keeps our live cultural events viable.

To counter this we have applied for later trading hours.

What we need to do is move more loss making live cultural events off the ‘prime dates’ of Wednesday and Thursday evenings, to make way for profit making commercial and private hire events. Instead we can place them on Friday and Saturday evenings before the weekend programme starts – if we can move the start and finish of the weekend programme later to make these timings work.

This extension of hours is about maintaining our live music and arts programmes in the face of difficult macro economic challenges; it is about serving our community of artists – we work with over 1,500 each year; it is about not losing jobs – we employ over 70 people, many of them locals; it is about not losing more of the cultural life of the area and London at large.

We hope you can support us in this mission with an email to Hackney Council recommending they grant our application, the deadline is this Tuesday, 30th of January

Thank you,

Village Underground

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