Rotten Committees…Spearmint Rhino lose court case against restrictions imposed by a tiny council committee where a husband and wife team were in majority control

Posted: 15 January, 2014 in Strip Pubs
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See article from camdennewjournal.com

HM Courts ServiceA district judge has backed the Camden Council’s handling of Spearmint Rhino’s bid for extended hours and more relaxed conditions at its branch in Tottenham Court Road.The company launched an appeal at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, complaining that it had been harshly treated when a list of requested amendments to its licence was voted down.

The club raised concerns that husband and wife Labour councillors Thomas Gardiner and Maryam Eslamdoust had total control of the votes with 2 votes out of 4 plus the casting vote.

The club had wanted to lift a list of rules including a ban on dancers drinking at work, a demand to keep the front doors closed and a ban on branded vehicles  outside the venue. The application failed when panel chairman Cllr Gardiner used his casting vote on a dead-locked committee to refuse the changes. The vote had been square at 2-2, with the two members voting against being Cllr Gardiner and Cllr Eslamdoust.

When the case came to court just before Christmas, however, district judge Robin McPhee said no rules had been broken. He said:

There is of course nothing inherently wrong in a husband and wife, or any civil partners, both being elected councillors to the same council. Such a situation is a frequent occurrence. With such a small committee it might have been better to avoid the situation which arose because it has given cause and a basis for comment. The efficacy of an evenly numbered committee is questionable but is certainly permissible.

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