Members' club in rooftop row with neighbours


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The Independent Online

A Soho members' club favoured by City bankers and lawyers has been served with a noise-abatement notice after drinkers began "hooting and hollering" from the rooftop during the London riots.

Neighbours complained about the noise emanating from a new rooftop garden opened at Milk and Honey, a Prohibition era-themed private-members' club. Six separate noise-related complaints have been made since the Poland Street venue opened the olive tree-lined roof terrace on 5 August.

Westminster Council has intervened after one drinker sang from the rooftop last Monday evening, when the city was engulfed by the riots. The club, which costs £300 to join and serves drinks until 3am, has been hit with a noise-abatement notice and could be fined up to £20,000 if the order is breached.

But it dismissed the complaints as "petty" and claimed that they were motivated by "bitterness and loneliness" in an email to members.

Milk and Honey did remind members to respect the club rules of "no hooting, hollering, shouting or other loud behaviour". The drinker responsible for the singing is believed to have had his membership revoked.

Leith Penny, Westminster Council's strategic director for City management, said: "We have made sure the club's management are clear [about] their responsibilities and will monitor the situation." A London spin-off from a hip Lower East Side Manhattan club, Milk and Honey opened in 2002 promising to bring "unrivalled drinks quality and service to a discerning crowd of grown-ups". Its conspiratorial, darkened bars became an instant hit with venture capitalists, City traders and media figures. The membership rules state: "Gentlemen will not introduce themselves to ladies. Ladies, feel free to start a conversation or ask the bartender to introduce you."

The club faces further difficulties over the rooftop garden after it emerged that it may not have planning permission. Westminster Council is investigating whether further permission must be sought or if the terrace space is a suitable location, given the proximity to Soho neighbours.