Nightclub punished over parties during pandemic

The Incense Lounge in Ponders End, where illegal parties were held during lockdown
The Incense Lounge in Ponders End, where illegal parties were held (credit Enfield Council)

Parties held at Ponders End venue were in breach of Covid-19 rules, reports Olivia Devereux-Evans

A nightclub has been ordered to close after it was busted by police for hosting parties in breach of Covid-19 rules.

The Incense Lounge in Alma Road, Ponders End, ignored repeated warnings from Enfield Council and the Metropolitan Police and has now been hit with a three-month court closure order.

Police officers found a large gathering at the venue in October 2020, when none of the revellers were social distancing and few wore face coverings.

During another visit, the shutters were found closed to conceal the inside of the venue. Inside the space had been operating as a nightclub and shisha bar, serving alcohol and playing music without the required permissions.

Enforcement notices were served but the business continued to operate, leading the council to apply for a court closure order.

George Savva, cabinet member for licensing and regulatory services, said: “Enfield Council repeatedly visited these premises to advise the directors on what they needed to do to operate legally and safely. But the licensing officers were left with no confidence that those in charge were capable of complying with the law.

“There appeared to be a deliberate disregard of Covid-19 regulations and licensing laws, which risked the health of the wider public.” 
“I would like to thank the police, licensing officers and the council’s legal team for working hard to protect the people of Enfield and ultimately, preventing the further spread of coronavirus.” 
Nightclubs are specifically not permitted to open under Covid-19 regulations due to the higher risk of transmission of coronavirus in these types of premises – which has been the case ever since March 2020.

The closure order was granted last month by Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, under section 80 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The court also awarded costs of £4,454.24 payable to Enfield Council.