Disorder fears over club opening hours

DRUNKEN anti-social behaviour could spiral out of control if controversial plans to extend the opening hours of a Suffolk nightclub are passed, residents have claimed.

DRUNKEN anti-social behaviour could spiral out of control if controversial plans to extend the opening hours of a Suffolk nightclub are passed, residents have claimed.

The proposals, relating to Club Brazilia, in Bury St Edmunds, include opening for an additional two hours on Sunday nights – which local people fear will exacerbate existing problems by increasing incidents of vandalism, noise disturbance and petty criminality.

But the owners of the popular nightclub have insisted new policies aimed at dispersing revellers leaving the Station Hill venue will keep predicted disorder to a minimum.

The club, which currently shuts at 10.30pm on a Sunday, will remain open until 12.30am on Mondays if an application, presented to St Edmundsbury Borough Council's Licensing and Regulatory Committee, is passed on Thursday .

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But in the run-up to the meeting, councillors have been warned the move will result in more problems for residents already plagued by incidents of public disorder on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Noise disturbance and anti-social behaviour are consistent in that area on Friday and Saturday nights,” said Trevor Beckwith, who has campaigned for improvements in Station Hill for the past eight years.

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“People have complained in the past, but have virtually given up now. They now realise this is going to continue while the nighttime entertainments and venues are all based in that area.

“I do not agree they should have to put up with it, so we must do the best we can to mitigate this disturbance as much as possible. At least on a working day, they could finish at a decent time.

“The main reason for the objection is the encroachment into Monday mornings of late night noise and associated disturbance adjacent to residential areas on every weekend.

And David Warren, who lives in Bury's Constable Road, also urged refusal of the application, after becoming a victim of drunken revelry when a glass pane was smashed in his front door during the early hours.

“Law and order must prevail over the profitability of the applicants,” he said. “I have noticed over more than 40 years that vandalism so often happens in the early hours of the morning, with the trails of such vandalism coinciding with the routes home from the entertainments' venues.

“I suggest that earlier, not later closing times would help matters.”

But Steve Dennis, director of Luminar Leisure Ltd, which owns Club Brazilia, said new dispersal policies should help minimise

“The staff and management of Club Brazilia have always worked very hard to ensure that their residential neighbours are inconvenienced as little as possible by customers who leave this venue,” he said.

“There has been demand for the additional hours, particularly on a Sunday, for some time. However, the management do not wish this to create any additional concern for neighbours. The venue is therefore introducing a dispersal policy at around the terminal hour.

“This comprehensive review of good practice will maximise initiatives to minimise the effect of Club Brazilia on neighbours and the local community.”

Club Brazilia's application will be discussed alongside a similar request, relating to Whatever and The Avenue in the town's Kings Road, to extend their opening times by one hour, until 1am, on Mondays to Wednesdays.

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