Bars dealt festive blow over opening

Vinnie's (formerly Live Lounge) in West Street, Weston-s-Mare.

Vinnie's (formerly Live Lounge) in West Street, Weston-s-Mare. - Credit: Archant

TWO town centre bars in Weston have been refused permission to open longer over the Christmas and New Year period amid fears over affecting policing and disturbing people living nearby.

Vinnie’s in West Street and Dragon Kiss both wanted to take advantage of what is expected to be a busy time for Weston’s night-time economy.

However their applications for a temporary change to opening hours were turned down by North Somerset Council’s licensing committee.

Bosses of Vinnie’s – which has this week changed from Live Lounge – wanted to stay open until 2am each night from Boxing Day until the New Year, while Dragon Kiss, in Regent Street, wanted to open until 4am on December 27 and 28.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary expressed concerns about the applications, after previously voicing long-standing concerns about disorder at Dragon Kiss.

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While the bar was appealing restrictions to its licence, only eight crimes were recorded in six months, prompting the bar to successfully challenge the council’s decision.

But since then, 22 crimes occurred in just four months, prompting fresh concerns from the police.

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Insp Bennett’s report said: “In addition to the concerns around the dramatic increase in the number of crimes, there are concerns around the intoxicated state of victims/offenders, one of which was only 17.”

There has also been three reports of unprofessional behaviour by door staff and times when doors were wrongly left open, causing disturbance to people living nearby because of the noise.

In a report handed to councillors, Carl Smallwood, an environmental health officer for North Somerset, objected to allowing Vinnie’s to remain open for longer.

He said it had the potential to cause ‘public nuisance’ and without any conditions over the volume of music, it could cause ‘noise disturbance to residents living within close proximity of the premises’.

A council spokesman said the application was refused because there was no underlying licence and therefore no sanctions could be imposed if limits were breached.

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