Exclusive Sky Garden Bar Restaurant Granted Licence

Concerns over disruption from social influencers dismissed

The Sky Garden will be a roof top cafe in Embassy Gardens. Credit: Ballymore
The Sky Garden will be a roof top cafe in Embassy Gardens. Picture: Ballymore

March 17, 2021

An exclusive rooftop bar and restaurant for residents of the Embassy Gardens development in Nine Elms has been granted a licence by Wandsworth Council.

It’s despite concerns from some residents that it will be used by students and social media influencers “taking selfies and having parties”.

Local resident Anya Sokolskaya, expressed concerns about the plans for a rooftop bar, and said there had been a number of noise disturbances last summer from people partying in their flats.

She told the committee, “Most of the tenants tend to be students or social media influencers, the Embassy Gardens hashtag trends very highly on Instagram and simply Embassy Gardens is their playground.

“They are there to take selfies and have parties etc. Of course we do not want to curb that but not at the expense of the residents who are living there with their families.”

Fellow resident Adam Sculthorpe said the spokesperson for Embassy Gardens “did a very good job of painting a picture of luxury living accommodation, which I’m sure for those people who have access to those facilities, do enjoy the saunas, the spas, the gyms, the cinema rooms, the concierges”.

“But if you walk 20 metres down the road from that luxury entrance you’ll find the affordable entrance which doesn’t have access to any of those amenities and also weren’t given the option of agreeing to any sort of rooftop bar when we signed up to move into this accommodation.”

He said because he lives in the affordable block he does not have “the luxury of air conditioning built in” so has to keep the windows open in the summer.

He said last year’s noisy gatherings “make access and use of our balconies pretty much impossible.”

However Jeremy Bark, representing Embassy Gardens, said, “We simply do not accept the portrayal of this development as being partytown or Ballymore as anything other than a responsible operator.”

He said a number of residents’ complaints had not been included in written submissions, and if he had known what was going to be said, he would have invited the manager of the estate on to the call.

He described the development as “high end luxury apartments which are designed and are being built or have been built to the highest standards,” adding that the bar, concierge and other amenities are facilities owners are “buying into”.

“This is a facility purely for the benefit of residents,” he said.

“We do not intend to operate in any way that would disturb them. It was part of the offer that residents were sold and certainly the overwhelming feedback that we’ve had is positive.”

The new premises license will allow alcohol to be sold between 10am and 10pm Sunday to Thursday and 10am to 10:30pm on Friday and Saturday evenings.

However, Mr Bark said it is “very likely” not all the hours will be used, and opening times will be subject to residents’ demand.

He clarified that people cannot get into the building until they pass security at the concierge and they will need a key fob or to sign in to access the lifts.

On the 10th floor, where the bar will be situated, visitors will also need a key fob or sign in.

He said that residents must have completed an induction and signed up to the rules of operation before they can get a key fob, and they are only allowed to be bring in one guest, at a cost of £40 per time.

Those under the age of 18 cannot sign in guests.

Wandsworth Council’s licensing sub-committee published its decision to grant the application for a new premises license on Thursday 11 March.

Sian Bayley, Local Democracy reporter