Richmond's National Archives in Kew has been granted permission to become a fully licensed venue, with live music and extended opening hours for the whole week.

The application, granted on March 12 at a licensing sub-committee meeting, sought to allow, every day of the week, for the sale of alcohol from 12pm to 11pm, the premises to play films, live and recorded music from 9pm to 11pm, and to extend opening hours to 11.30pm.

Some neighbours oppose the move and are specifically concerned with noise pollution and parking.

One said the change would be a “terrible infringement” on residents’ “daily lives, rest and sleep”.

They said: “To allow The National Archives to become a licensed premises would definitely not be of great benefit to us the residents.

“It is regretful that we must now prepare ourselves to be living in a street that will be a thoroughfare for many people in cars, on bikes, motorbikes and noisy pedestrians, far beyond the times of opening hours of The National Archives.

“We know the noise impact from the few events held throughout the year.

“Multiply this by every night of the week occurrences; it will be a terrible infringement to our daily lives, our rest and our sleep.”

At the moment, only a few large events are held on the premises each year.

Another resident said: “When the venue has held events in the past year we can hear the music from inside our house because The National Archives building does not have sufficient sound insulation fitted to limit the impact on nearby residents.”

Parking is also an issue, with some concerned that residents would be “battling for spaces” when events are on.

Permission was granted subject to conditions offered by The National Archives.

These include security staff being on hand 24 hours a day to protect the premises and prevent crime and disorder.

Staff selling alcohol must have adequate training, records of which need to be kept and available for inspection.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

CCTV will cover public entrances and walkways, all licensed areas, the carpark, while the video will be retained for at least 28 days.

The National Archives also promised to ensure no noise from the entertainment “is audible at the boundary” of the premises. 

A refusal/incident book will be kept, detailing any time someone was refused alcohol.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Caroline Ottaway-Searle, director of public engagement at The National Archives said: “As the guardians of some of the nation’s most iconic documents dating from the Domesday Book to Government tweets, we are always looking at new ways of making our collection more accessible to the public.

“In recent years we have been developing our events programme to reach a wider audience, with evening film screenings, family days, and talks by historians and authors.

“These events have been well-supported by the local community and visitors from further afield.

“In the past we applied for a temporary licence each time we held such events which included the sale of alcohol, typically wine and beer.

“However as our events programme has become more established a full premises licence removes restrictions on which days we can hold events.

“We have no intention of holding events every night and all our events require tickets to be purchased in advance.

“While The National Archives has never received any complaint regarding noise, we proposed nearly 20 robust conditions to be attached to the licence - in addition to mandatory conditions - which address noise, security and movement of people.

“We are pleased that Richmond Council has approved our full premises licence and we look forward to sharing details of our new and exciting events programme soon.”