Nightspot faces four-week closure after licence ban

The Sugar Room, Regent St, Weston.

The Sugar Room, Regent St, Weston. - Credit: Archant

A WESTON bar has been closed by the council for four weeks after reducing one of its neighbours to tears and putting her ‘through hell’ with its thumping music.

Tina Haycock lives yards away from The Sugar Room in Regent Street and failure by management to adhere to licence conditions forced her onto medication.

A noise limiter was cut by licensee James Bebbington, a North Somerset Council hearing was told on Thursday.

Ms Haycock said: “For the last two years I have been going through hell.

“The bar doors were shut on March 7 but (before that) my doors were wobbling (because of the music). It was so bad I was in tears. When the bar’s doors are open it is like thunder. It’s a wonder their heads don’t explode.”

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Ms Haycock said she likes loud music but said it can last for more than three hours, especially on a Thursday.

She said: “I work at weekends and it has got to the stage where I need sleeping pills.

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“I used to go in there (on a night out) but I was afraid I might not come out alive.”

Mr Bebbington admitted that he cut the noise limiter because it was ‘distorting the sound’.

Cllr Felicity Baker, chairing the committee, said it was ‘selfish’ to not consider residents’ feelings.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary backed the review into The Sugar Room’s licence amid further concerns over Mr Bebbington’s involvement.

The hearing was told he was ‘too drunk’ to help an assault investigation, tried to serve customers while intoxicated and was convicted of growing cannabis in January.

CCTV footage of brawls in the street, revellers urinating in public and customers appearing to inhale nitrous oxide gas outside, were also shown to the council’s three-person committee.

PC Stephen Hanlon said: “If there’s going to be disorder, then invariably it’s The Sugar Room on a Thursday. Thursday is the new Friday.”

Confusion surrounded the ownership of the bar too.

Licensee and investor Mr Bebbington vowed to step away from the project and allow fellow licensee Rebecca Manning and new manager Ben Reilly run the premises.

Both Miss Manning and Mr Reilly said they are employed by Homeworks Bristol Limited to run the bar – although the firm denied this when asked by the council.

Committee member Cllr Ann Harley said Miss Manning and Mr Reilly were ‘floundering’ and needed Homeworks to back them if they are to maintain a viable business.

Miss Manning apologised to Ms Haycock for the noise problems, adding: “We want to be a nice place.

“My heart is in it and I want it to be the nicest club in Weston. It isn’t every week we have fighting.”

When the licence ban is revoked next month, strict new conditions will have to be observed by the bar’s managers.

The CCTV system must be upgraded, doors and windows must remain closed when music is playing and no under-18s are allowed after 9pm.

Other conditions include use of plastic glasses and bottles and The Sugar Room joining the Pubwatch scheme. Also, Mr Bebbington cannot be on site while ‘licensable activities’ are taking place.

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