Panel agrees late-night bar hours for Barcode
- Credit: Archant
A FORMER youth club will be allowed to stay open longer as a late-night bar, despite initial concerns from police it may increase the ‘high’ level of violence witnessed in Weston town centre.
Barcode, in South Parade, can stay open for an extra 90 minutes each night although North Somerset Council members refused to grant a 4am closing time, which the owners originally asked for.
Neighbourhood Inspector Sharon Bennett, speaking ahead of the decision, said: “There are in excess of 300 licensed premises in the centre of Weston, the cumulative impact area is approximately half a mile.
“The area remains at saturation point. In particular, the area which has a significant concentration of alcohol-led late-night venues, witnesses a high number of assaults and other related crime and disorder including public nuisance and risk to public safety.
“Despite the best efforts of the responsible authorities there were 638 violent crimes, excluding domestic abuse, recorded in Weston town centre between August 1, 2013 and July 31 this year.
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“Analysis shows a general peak for violence offences in the town centre is on Friday/Saturday and Sundays between the hours of midnight and 3am when 213 of these offences occur.
“The police believe any extension of the licensed hours of Barcode include the highlighted high risk early hours and will inevitably have adverse effect on the prevention of crime, disorder and public nuisance licensing objectives.”
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The panel agreed to extend Barcode’s opening hours by 90 minutes to 1.30am.
It insisted on extra door staff and no re-entry is allowed after midnight to satisfy the police’s concerns that it would not cause further problems for Weston.
The same panel however refused the Kimitri family’s second application, relating to Sin nightclub in Richmond Street. Changes have been made to allow it to serve food on the ground floor, taking over a disused betting shop.
Chris Kimitri told the panel he was looking to increase business in Weston having brought a shop into use that had stayed empty for a number of years, but wanted the alcohol licence changed to include the ground floor.
With a closing time of 4am already allowed on some nights, the police raised concerns any change may lead to more people in the town centre when no buses run and taxis are few and far between.
North Somerset Council decided to reject the application because it felt Mr Kimitri could not guarantee it would not lead to extra disorder in the town.