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Police concern over bar licence bid

PUBLISHED: 13:25 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 15:19 07 July 2010

Police are calling for measures to be introduced before they give their approval to a bar and cocktail lounge holding no-alcohol discos for young teenagers.

Police are calling for measures to be introduced before they give their approval to a bar and cocktail lounge holding no-alcohol discos for young teenagers.

Officers have said the “current drinking culture of a substantial number of young people” could threaten to abuse such a young person's facility and could lead to criminal acts and anti-social behaviour.

The Lounge, on the edge of Dereham town centre, is applying for a variation in its current licensing operating hours and the lowering of its age restriction to allow it to remain open to serve alcohol 45 minutes later on Friday and Saturday nights and for it to hold no-alcohol discos for young people under 17.

The applications are due to be considered by Breckland Council's licensing sub-committee on August 19 and the police report makes it clear that it would object to lowering the age restriction unless a series of measures is implemented.

Despite letters of objection from residents, the police say it has no objection to the extension of hours following an improvement in the management situation at the premises, particularly this year. The number of reported incidents recorded against the premises has been “negligible”, say police.

Police want to see a number of measures covering events involving people under the age of 17. These include staff holding current enhanced criminal records bureau check certificates and at least two properly registered members of door staff on duty at all times, one of whom must be a woman.

The committee's report includes copies of 10 letters of objection from residents living nearby and from Dereham Shopping Centre manager Nigel Sizeland. These are on a variety of grounds including late-night noise, anti-social behaviour and general disturbance in the locality.

The Lounge owner Chris Mooney said there were other late-night venues in the immediate area but his premises were continually blamed for causing trouble and its clients being a public nuisance.

“It is unfair that my premises are always blamed for causing the problems when there are a lot of pubs in the area that are open late,” he said.

“We have recorded figures over the past four or five months and carried out 'experimental' events and come to the conclusion that by 2.15am there are only a handful of people left in the bar so there is not a large group of people leaving at the same time,” he said.

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