Controversy over club's re-opening plan
WORRIED residents who fear a rerun of late night noise and drunkenness are objecting strongly to a nightclub's bid to reopen. Locals say their lives have been much better since the club, Storm, in London Road, Copford – formerly Kings – closed for refurbishment in 2003.
WORRIED residents who fear a rerun of late night noise and drunkenness are objecting strongly to a nightclub's bid to reopen.
Locals say their lives have been much better since the club, Storm, in London Road, Copford – formerly Kings – closed for refurbishment in 2003.
In order to reopen as a nightclub, owners need a new public entertainment licence, which covers music and dancing. The previous licence ran out last year.
But people living near the club say that when it was open their lives were badly blighted by late night noise and disorder.
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Complaints about clubgoers' behaviour before the closure include violence, vandalism, noise and even revellers having sex in gardens.
One resident, Heidi Lee of Allendale Drive, Copford, said in a letter to Colchester Borough Council: "I suffered from sleep disturbance due to the noise from the premises and the uproar caused by customers leaving the premises.
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"I feared for the safety of myself, my family and visitors from so many people in a rural area having consumed alcohol and trying to get home."
Another said fence panels had been damaged and bottles thrown over a wall causing more than £600 damage to a car.
The borough council's licensing committee will consider an application by the club's owners who want a licence to allow them to open until 2am six days a week and 10.30pm on Sunday with a maximum capacity of 600.
Simon Harvey, Colchester Borough Council's licensing manager, said 163 letters of objection had been received from residents, with none in support.
However, he added it was not unusual for applicants to wait until the licensing meeting itself to put their case.
Jason Smith of Storm said it was important to remember that a lot of residents' concerns related to behaviour that went on before Storm took over the club.
He added: "We operate a nightclub in Southend and we have very strict policies. We would like to work with residents to address their concerns. We just need the chance to do that."
Police have recommended stringent measures including CCTV, weekend coaches to shuttle revellers out of the area and regular patrols of the car park by security staff.
The council has pointed out that a consistently good standard of noise reduction would need to be in place, especially as building work now means the club is closer to nearby houses.
Colchester Borough Council's licensing committee will decide the issue on Wednesday.