Licence hearing abandoned after councillor's blunder
PUBLISHED: 10:00 17 September 2013
NAKED women fighting, underage girls drinking alcohol and taking class A drugs, and a six-man brawl all occurred at a Weston town centre bar - but a councillor's gaffe has stopped the police from taking action.
The Regent street nightspot Dragon Kiss, which is owned by Mu Mu (Enterprises) Ltd, has seen more than 130 crimes committed inside and outside during the past two years, including assaults, brawls, thefts, drug dealing and knife possession, with the majority of incidents taking place after midnight.
Last month a 17-year-old girl was ‘kicked’ while on the dance floor and needed hospital treatment. She told officers she was served alcohol without having to show any identification.
But the police’s attempt to impose stricter restrictions on the bar were frustrated on Thursday after a councillor’s outburst raised questions over her ability to make a fair decision.
Councillor Roz Willis, part of a three-strong North Somerset Council licensing panel, suggested she would back the police’s demands, regardless of the evidence.
Health and safety and child protection council officers had concerns over a lack of documentation and underage drinking.
A report said: “A young girl, aged 16 years old, told staff that she had been in Dragon Kiss on a weekend evening and was served alcohol and had been using cocaine in the toilets.
“The young person said she went to Dragon Kiss often and that the owner knows her age… she had been going to Dragon Kiss and drinking alcohol when she was younger.
“Another young person has told staff that it is well known that young females, if they dressed up, would be able to get alcohol and drugs from Dragon Kiss.”
Weston Inspector Liz Hughes ‘strongly suspects that the pursuit of profit’ is the over-riding consideration of the Mu family. She wants tighter restrictions to the bar’s licence including the use of plastic bottles and no entry or re-entry within two hours of closure – currently set at 2am.
Cllr Willis said: “I’m extremely sorry we are here again. The council spent more than £42million on the seafront and businesses need to be here and have got to be viable and profitable.
“We all need to make Weston a nice place to visit and we know what happens when people have too much to drink.
“No entry two hours before would be a help I think. We have seen it with other premises and I think it would help this business.”
Her comments came before all the evidence, including CCTV pictures of a man leaving the bar and running naked towards the Grand Pier, had been presented.
The Mu family called for the meeting to be adjourned because they argued that Cllr Willis had a closed mind. Cllr Tony Lake, the chairman of the committee, agreed.
When Cllr Willis attempted to clarify her views, Cllr Lake refused to listen, stating she had ‘said enough’.
Dragon Kiss has had two licence reviews in the space of 10 months, both of which have been wrecked by council errors.
The Mercury exclusively reported in November that two customers were caught on CCTV having sex in the kitchen during opening hours.
But December’s review was successfully appealed against by Mu Mu (Enterprises) Ltd because the council failed to follow procedures in publicising the meeting online.
Another review, with new committee members, will be held later this year.