Novas granted right to sell alcohol, but says it’s for somebody else
A CHARITY controversially won its bid for an alcohol licence at a new Camden Town restaurant even though it plans to sell off the property.
The Novas Scarman Group (NSG) – who last year were investigated by the government watchdog over funding irregularities – were granted the licence for 64 Parkway after telling a licensing panel they “would be a responsible licensee” because “we’re a charity who offer training to many sections of society”.
Their solicitor, Juliet Edwards, added: “I’ve heard there has been irresponsible and damaging comments in the press about whether the Novas Scarman Group would be responsible licensee. Last year we helped 350 people back into mainstream employment.”
However, in an earlier statement to the New Journal the NSG said they had already lined up a buyer and were only applying for the licence because they had been asked to by the new owner. “Shortly after Novas Scarman got the lease in August 2008 the recession hit,” a spokeswoman said.
“It was not a good time for them to invest due to set-up costs so they mothballed 64 Parkway. The lease is currently being transferred to a private company. This came with an alcohol licence when it was originally transferred and the new owners requested its renewal as part of the deal.”
Questions were raised about Novas by Camden Town ward councillor Chris Naylor, who warned they were the wrong group to be applying for a licence after they were forced to hand over Arlington House, the homeless men’s hostel, to another charity after running out of funds to refurbish it.
“A lot of people locally thought Novas was interested in working with local residents and doing good things for the area. However most people locally would say we don’t need any more licensed premises.
“They have had financial problems over at Arlington House and I’m not sure they’re the people to open another business in the centre of Camden Town.”