Police fight Oyston’s bar bid

Sam Oyston is applying for a licence for a new bar and restaurant on the corner of Queen Street and the Promenade
Sam Oyston is applying for a licence for a new bar and restaurant on the corner of Queen Street and the Promenade

Police are opposing a bid to open a late-night restaurant and bar in Blackpool town centre because they fear it will increase the risk of violence in what is already a crime hotspot.

Sam Oyston, son of Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston, has applied for a licence to serve alcohol from 11am until 2am seven days a week at premises on Queen Street previously known as Kelly’s Cafe. He says it will create 20 jobs.

Police chiefs have agreed a raft of 39 licensing conditions but say the venue must stop serving booze at 1am.

A town hall licensing panel is due to take place on Monday in front of a panel of councillors in order to determine the application.

Sergeant Helen Parkinson, of Blackpool Police, says in a submission to the hearing: “The location of the premises is a particular hotspot for crime and disorder in the town centre and police believe a further premises operating into the early hours of the morning will contribute to this.”

The proposed nightspot, close to the junction with The Strand, is also within the cumulative impact zone which means new alcohol licences can only be granted in exceptional circumstances to premises it is believed will not increase the potential for anti-social behaviour.

Sgt Parkinson adds: “The one issue that cannot be agreed on are the licensing hours.

“Police believe a 2am licence would increase the risk of crime and disorder and add to the issues already endured within the town centre by the emergency services, particularly at the weekend.

“Within Queen Street, Queen Square and The Strand, there is a significant concentration of late night premises and it is a particular hotspot already, particularly into the early hours.”

Police say the only way to prevent potential disorder is to reduce the hours to 1am “so people are dispersed before the late night congregation takes effect”.

The ground floor bar and restaurant will have a maximum capacity of 150, 60 of which will be seated covers.

Within the application, Mr Oyston says measures to prevent crime and disorder will include CCTV in all public areas, while a door person will be employed from 9pm until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, with further doorstaff used when necessary.

Signs will be installed advising customers to leave quietly and a ‘Challenge 25’ police will be in place to prevent under-age drinkers being served.

Mr Oyston said: “The premises on 136-140 Promenade will be a high end restaurant and cocktail bar that is set to create more than 20 jobs for people in the local area.

“I fully understand the concerns relating to the cumulative impact zone, which is why I have met with the police to agree on a number of extensively detailed conditions, in order to minimise the risk of any further crime and disorder in the area.”