Police tell council hearing plans to open new nightclub in Scarborough are 'extremely worrying'

North Yorkshire Police has said that plans to open a new nightclub in the centre of Scarborough are “extremely worrying”.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting ServiceCorinne Macdonald
Thursday, 21st May 2020, 9:12 am
Updated Thursday, 21st May 2020, 9:14 am
The site of the proposed club on Aberdeen Walk. Picture from Google Street View
The site of the proposed club on Aberdeen Walk. Picture from Google Street View

Frazer Jones and Martin Weaver want to open Decades Bar at 9 Aberdeen Walk, which was previously home to the Mansion nightclub.

Scarborough Council held a hearing into the application on Zoom on Wednesday May 20 following an objection from North Yorkshire Police as the building is located in Scarborough’s Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ), which makes it harder for new licensed premises be approved as they would have to show that they would not add to crime and disorder in the town.

The police told the hearing that they had a number of concerns about the application which meant they could not support it.

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Mr Weaver told the council’s licensing sub-committee that he and Mr Jones have known each other for eight years, with Mr Jones running the Decades nightclub brand in Tamworth.

He added that he felt Decades would be a good addition to Scarborough.

Mr Weaver said: “We believe Decades is a unique brand and something we think would fit very nicely into Scarborough’s night time.

“Our music genre attracts an over 25 client. So it’s very different from the current offerings on St Nicholas Street.”

He added: “Decades will trade on the first floor, with a capacity of 270, only on Friday and Saturday, 9pm until 4am or 4.30am.”

At first, the second floor of the building will undergo extensive renovations ahead of the pair’s plans for the space.

Mr Weaver said: “The plan for the second floor, with a capacity of 700 is for use for the daytime conference market and then in the evening open up a cabaret club.”

He said there would be comedians, basket meals and “a little bit of dancing” at the end.

Mr Weaver said he was confident Decades would be a safe venue for the town and that they wanted to work with the council and the police to meet that goal.

During the hearing, councillors asked Mr Jones to explain nine incidents where the police had been called to his club in Tamworth in the last 12 months.

Mr Jones said he had no knowledge of some of the logged calls until he saw the report from Staffordshire Police. Other incidents included the police being called after a group tried to get into the club after it had closed, another was a hoax call about a 40 person brawl that was called in by someone who had been asked to leave the premises.

Mr Jones told the councillors: “We didn’t even have 40 people in at the time. The police arrived in great numbers with officers from all over Staffordshire so I had to apologise to them as it wasn’t true.”

Other incidents included an assault on a member of the club’s door staff, a concern for a drunk woman being lead away from the premises and someone being reported on suspicion of possessing drugs.

During the hearing Sgt Jackie Booth, force licensing officer for North Yorkshire Police, asked why the pair’s application stated that there had been no incidents involving the police at the Tamworth club.

Mr Jones said it was “an error” and apologised to the councillors for the mistake.

PC Debbie Chadwick, the licensing officer for Scarborough said she “just could not see” how a nightclub “no matter how expertly managed” would not generate any crime or disorder, meaning it would fall foul of the CIZ order.

Sgt Booth added the applicants had not contacted the police until Monday of this week despite claiming they wanted to work with them.

She said: “I think there has been an attempt to mislead with regards to the calls for service and I don’t believe that has just been an error.”

Sgt Booth said there were also concerns from the police about the second floor of the premises.

She said: “Should the committee seek to grant this licence today then the licence would be for a 970 capacity premises within the CIZ.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in these premises and what is being proposed.

“The capacity size of the venue, of 970, within an area that is already experiencing crime and disorder, is extremely worrying to us from a policing perspective.”

She asked the councillors to refuse the application, saying if the licence was granted as requested there was nothing that could legally stop the nightclub running seven days a week until 4am.

Sgt Booth said it would be “hypocritical” for the councillors to go against the council’s own policy and grant the licence in the CIZ.

In response, Mr Weaver said he believed they would only have a “very positive impact in the town” and suggested that if the licence was not granted they would appeal the decision to the magistrates’ court.

The decision will be announced in the coming days.

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