Cash-strapped Kingston Council could soon be renting out its meeting chambers for booze-fuelled corporate events and wedding receptions, apparently contrary to its own licensing policy.

An application to sell alcohol, provide entertainment and play music in the Guildhall between 8am and midnight seven days a week was heard by the licensing sub-committee on Tuesday morning.

Applicants Engie Services want to sell alcohol in the Queen Anne Suite and the council chamber, rooms more used to hosting planning applications than DJs, and hopes to rake in £500,000 over the next seven years.

It prompted raised eyebrows from at least one late-night venue owner who urged councillors to rule consistently.

The building lies firmly in the town centre and councillors vowed earlier this year only to grant new licences if applicants can prove that there would be no “negative cumulative impact” from drinking on the premises.

Kingston environmental protection officer Richard Odell said: “The policy, covering the part of Kingston in which this premises is located, creates a ‘rebuttal presumption’ of refusal to applications for new premises licences.

“This will normally be refused unless the applicant can demonstrate to the council’s satisfaction that there will be no negative cumulative impact on the licensing objectives.”

Paul Kinsey, who owns Kingston’s Viper Rooms, added: “I am in favour of anything that creates a more vibrant night time economy.

“However It is important that the council is and seen to be consistent in its applications.

“[The application] does seem rather contradictory compared to the ways other establishments have been treated.”

The Stable, an upmarket pizza chain with its sights set on Market House, was told last month it could not sell alcohol until midnight because it was likely to cause disruption.

On Tuesday Engie’s Michael Gibson assured councillors the company would only employ experienced catering, bar and security staff.

He said: “A wedding without alcohol is quite a hard sell.

“Twenty-four-hour security guards [will be provided] for the Guildhall.

“I wouldn’t expect it to get too raucous.”

He added customers would not be allowed to take their drinks outside the council building.

Kingston’s register office was sold off last year and services moved to the former magistrates’ courts behind the Guildhall.

Kingston police and Trading Standards originally opposed the plan unless a strict set of rules were put in place.

PC Jim Hartland said: “Police believe that the granting of this request would result in the likely increase of crime and disorder and public nuisance both at the premises and in near vicinity.”

He suggested a CCTV system covering the main Guildhall entrance be installed, risk assessments for each pre-booked event and a minimum of two bouncers on the door if needed.

Police withdrew their objection when Engie agreed to the terms, which, unlike at other venues, did not include curtailed opening hours.

Licensing committee chairman Mike Head said: “Anyone who wants a licence in the town centre is welcome to apply.

“The company is already putting on events successfully under a temporary licence and meet the conditions. The Guildhall is a fantastic venue and at the moment underused.”

The council wrote to 1,303 residents around the Guildhall and received three complaints about extra noise the proposals might bring.

David Costly-White, who lives in The Bittoms, said: “We are woken by loud voices most Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and our front doorstep is regularly used as a public toilet.

“More than once we have been serenaded by drunken youngsters telling the world, at full volume, the minutiae of their romantic encounters.

“Until some measures are taken to reduce the noise levels ‘after hours’ I cannot agree to this application.”

The Comet cannot yet reveal whether the application was approved because, by law, the council has five days to inform applicants of its decision before making it public.