New controls – but club can serve to 5am

Basil Newby outside the Flamingo which will continue to operate until 5am.
Basil Newby outside the Flamingo which will continue to operate until 5am.
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The owner of a Blackpool nightclub has been ordered to tighten up procedures but the venue can still serve booze until 5am following a town hall licensing review.

Basil Newby’s Flamingo Club has been told to carry out random drugs checks, review its CCTV system and have at least two door staff on duty at the Queen Street entrance after midnight.

The Flamingo which will continue to operate until 5am.

The Flamingo which will continue to operate until 5am.

The venue came under scrutiny after the police highlighted a number of incidents including assaults, evidence of drug use and extreme drunkenness.

They had asked for the club’s licensing hours to be restricted to 4am.

But a panel of councillors decided instead to impose a string of strict new conditions to the licence.

These include that one customer in 10 must be subject to a random drug search, lighting in the smoking area to be increased and the area to be supervised from 11pm, UV lights to be installed in corridors to identify drug users, and at all times on Fridays and Saturdays there must be a CCTV operative employed to monitor live video footage.

Licensing chairman Coun Norman Hardy said: “I don’t think a revocation of the licence was ever on our agenda. We thought it was better to impose strict conditions to ensure the club is run properly.

“We were conscious of the longstanding record of Basil Newby in the town and the fact his clubs have always been well thought of.

“However, if these conditions are not heeded, then we will come down heavily like a ton of bricks.”

The council has also ordered the smoking area is moved to the ground floor to ease complaints of noise from local residents.

The ruling was announced yesterday following a day-long hearing on Friday.

Mr Newby, who had accused the police of a witch-hunt against him because of his opposition to proposals for an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) which will mean all venues must close at 3am, said he now hoped to move forward.

He said: “We are very pleased that after a lengthy hearing when the committee heard full representations from the police and ourselves the decision was made not to restrict the hours of operation as had been requested by the police and to only add
conditions to the licence which reflected what we offered during the course of the hearing.

“It was extremely disappointing and distressing to me personally and to the organisation as a whole to have to face the review proceedings when I felt we had been unfairly targeted particularly as we have operated in the town for over 30 years and continue to do so.

“Evidence of incidents logged to us when the premises were either closed, or in areas away from the club was disappointing to hear.

“That having been said we wish to put the proceedings behind us and seek to work with the police and other authorities in promoting our venues and the town of Blackpool as a whole.”

Solicitor Richard Williams, acting on behalf of the police, had outlined a number of incidents and assaults which took place inside the club leading to injuries.

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