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Public safety concerns forces night club to close.

Mendip Council : 24 April, 2008  (Company News)
Lack of adequate surveillance and door control amongst reasons for night club license suspension in Mendip under licensing laws.
A Mendip nightclub has become the first in the district to be forced to close under the new licensing rules.

Mendip District Council yesterday (Tuesday) decided that the owners of Level One in Frome should close the venue for three months because of concerns over public safety, crime and disorder and public nuisance.

A meeting of the licensing sub committee at the council offices in Shepton Mallet also imposed a list of conditions to improve standards at the nightclub.

The owner of Level One will have 21 days in which to appeal against the temporary suspension of the licence. If they choose not to appeal then the nightclub will shut down for 12 weeks, and the owner will be expected to plan how they will comply with the new conditions.

The conditions relate to various issues including CCTV, smoking, staff training, security staff, drugs, alcohol, public entry and noise.

The list of conditions link to the four key licensing objectives:.

Prevention of crime and disorder.
Public safety.
Prevention of public nuisance.
Protection of children from harm.

James Gilbody, Mendip District Council's licensing enforcement officer, said: "Our key role is to promote the four main licensing objectives, and we have put a tremendous amount of effort into working with Level One to help them overcome the issues which were at the centre of this review.

"Where ever possible we will work with licence holders to ensure we avoid a review hearing."

Frome police sergeant Mark Cousins said: "The police are here to help and support licensees, and ensure that the licensing objectives are complied with. Unfortunately, this was a case where we felt that the licensee did not respond to the advice provided and we had no alternative but to call a review."

The review of Level One's licence followed a series of meetings between the night club management, district council and police.

As part of those meetings, attempts had been made to encourage the managers to improve the nightclub by combating problems which have now formed the new conditions that were previously imposed.

Chairman of Mendip's licensing committee, Cllr Margaret Robinson, said: "We want everyone in Mendip to enjoy themselves and be part of the success of our night-time economy, but we do not want the public to be inconvenienced, upset or otherwise distressed.

"The committee's decision should send a strong message that premises that fail to promote the licensing objectives could find themselves in a similar situation."

The temporary suspension has been welcomed by local police, environmental health and residents who felt that greater effort was needed to improve standards at the venue.

Frome district councillor and local resident, Cllr Claire Hudson, said: "Where the council or the police have concerns about licensed premises, then it is only right that the licence can be reviewed.

"I hope that all the relevant parties can now work together to enable the night-club to re-open in due course, and operate safely and with no impact on either local residents or community safety."

Cllr Tom Killen, Mendip District Council's portfolio holder for public protection, said: "As a council we have a duty to ensure businesses are meeting the terms of their licence which will always link to the four key licensing objectives. This makes sure we maintain one of our key roles of protecting the public.

"Our duty in terms of licensing means that as well as allowing people to enjoy themselves, and ensuring businesses can prosper, we can support a good quality of life in Mendip so that residents can be proud of where they live."

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