Troubled Bath nightclub allowed to stay open
Councillors have decided to allow a Bath nightclub to stay open after police and the owner came to an agreement over tougher licensing conditions.
Bath and North East Somerset Council’s licensing committee met today to discuss the case of the Blue Rooms, in George Street.
It follows a police investigation into criminal activity at the venue, including drug dealing, anti-social behaviour, violence and theft, which has resulted in a number of people being convicted for dealing cocaine.
Officers say that the problem has got worse over the past six months and were initially calling for the nightclub to be closed and the licence revoked.
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However, lengthy legal discussions took place this morning at the Guildhall and both sides agreed on a list of strict licence conditions, which include more door staff on duty and working longer hours, people being searched before they enter the premises and better training for those working behind the bar so they do not serve people who are already drunk.
Councillors heard from the chair of Abbey Residents’ Association Ian Perkins, who was also speaking on behalf of the Circus Residents’ Association, and he outlined the type of problems his members experienced because of the Blue Rooms.
These included vomit and mess on the streets the next morning, large groups of people congregating outside the nightclub after closing time and also high levels of noise in the early hours of the morning.
He said: “George Street is quite a residential area and something which people don’t understand is that noise at two or three o’clock in the morning on a week day is not easy to live with because people have to get up in the morning and go to work.”
He added: “I think people are more tolerant of noise at the weekend. None of us moved to the city centre being unaware it is a city centre and we not trying to turn Bath city centre into an abbey cloister.
“Noise during the week is much more disruptive than noise during the weekend because people have to get up for work.”
The councillors also watched a DVD which had been compiled by the police and was designed to give a snapshot of the issues they were concerned with.
This included footage of people leaving the club so drunk they could not stand up and door staff doing nothing to help them, and one particular incident back in September when a group of men got into a violent fight inside the club which spilled out and continued in George Street.
After hearing all the evidence the committee, which was made up of Councillor Doug Nichol (Lib Dem, Kingsmead), Councillor Gerry Curran (Lib Dem, Twerton) and Councillor Gabriel Batt (Con, Bathavon North), said they had considered removing club manager Blair Ruddick because they believed he had failed to do his job properly.
However, they instead decided to impose a series of strict conditions which police now believe will go some way to tackling the problems.
City centre neighbourhood inspector Steve Mildren welcomed the move and said the force would be keeping a close eye on the nightclub to make sure the conditions were met.
He said: “Our main aim is to work with the licensee and the licensing authority to come up with conditions that suit the licensing objectives.
“We could have gone for a full closure, but we felt these stringent conditions we asked for and have been agreed will ensure effective management of the premises.”
Kambiz Shayegan, one of the directors of the company which runs Blue Rooms, was at the meeting and said he was looking forward to working with the police.
He said: “One of the main things we want people to know now is that we are open for business.
“I think the conditions are fair and useful in this day and age. We don’t want to have trouble, we don’t want to have drugs in the club.”
His licensing agent David Holley said the case had been “food for thought” and added that Mr Shayegan wanted to continue to work with the police, the council and local residents.