Venue victory in police row over licence

An artists impression of the proposed new Las Iguanas restaurant in Blackpool
An artists impression of the proposed new Las Iguanas restaurant in Blackpool
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A national restaurant chain has secured a drinks licence for its proposed new venue in Blackpool despite police objections.

Councillors have agreed the licence for Las Iguanas which is planning a £1m investment in premises at the junction of Church Street and the Promenade which was formerly occupied by Burger King.

Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Adrian Hutton

Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Adrian Hutton

The police had wanted to force the venue to have door staff on duty amid concerns about the impact of the development on the town’s booze culture.

But a council licensing panel ruled the condition was not necessary and approved the application which means customers can either have a drink in the restaurant or the bar area.

Blackpool’s chairman of licensing Coun Adrian Hutton said: “The proposal is for more of an upmarket restaurant and a cocktail bar and it is the sort of thing we want to attract to Blackpool rather than some of the less salubrious type of places.

“We have concerns because it is in the cumulative impact zone but on balance we felt the condition the police were looking for was at this time inappropriate.

“The company felt door staff might put customers off, and as they have a policy whereby customers are shown to their tables, they do have a way of turning people away if necessary.

“They have around 40 establishments across the country and they don’t seem to get any trouble.

“If we do have any problems with them not having door staff, we could bring it in for review.”

The site lies within the council’s cumulative impact zone which means any new licence applications come under extra scrutiny.

A police report said they were “of the strong belief that the bar element to this business will attract crime and disorder”, and called for a condition on the licence being that door staff must be employed.

The report adds: “This application is within the cumulative impact zone, which was recently reviewed to cover a smaller area.

“However this premises still falls within this area. The location of the premises is in one of the busiest parts of the town, servicing both the day time and night time economy.”

Las Iguanas, which specialises in Latin American food, hopes to open the restaurant later this year.

The scheme, which will see a new frontage put on the premises, will also create 50 jobs.

A planning application has been submitted to Blackpool Council for changes to the front of the building, whose lower ground floor is occupied by Laser Quest.