Anger over decision to grant Shades renewal

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An Old Town nightclub has been granted the annual renewal of its sexual entertainment licence despite objections from almost 200 people.

Last week, Warwick District Council’s licensing committee was split on whether to grant the renewal to Shades in High Street with chairman Cllr George Illingworth (Con, Kenilworth Abbey) eventually making the casting vote in the club’s favour.

The council’s licensing department had received no complaints regarding Shades and Warwickshire Police had not objected to the application but 183 representations were made against the club mainly from people who either live, work, run a business in or visit the area.

Cllr Illingworth said: “Essentially from the evidence put in front of us there were no changes from last time and no reason not to renew.

“A lot of people seem to be concerned about the welfare of students but we work closely with Warwick University, which provides taxi and street marshals, and as far as I can tell Shades has never been a problem.”

Objectors concerns’ included feeling unsafe at night, the impression a sexual entertainment venue gives to visitors and Shades’ proximity to residential and student housing and the Shree Krishna Hindu Temple.

County councillor Matt Western (Lab, Leamington Willes) said he and many others were angered and disillusioned by both the decision and what he described as the “fundamentally flawed” process by which it was made.

He said: “Last week’s hearing left a lot to be desired for something so undesirable. At the core, lies something not just flawed but, more concerningly, fundamentally dysfunctional about the procedure and governance at a local level. Those supporting the application were, without exception, from out of Leamington and, I have to say, Conservative. They don’t represent us. Why should they be voting on this issue when they haven’t even read through our objections.”