Licensing chiefs have approved a new upmarket seafront venue – but agreed with police that it should stop serving drinks at 1am and not 2am.
Sam Oyston, son of Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston, applied for a licence to serve alcohol from 11am until 2am seven days a week at premises on the corner of Queen Street, previously known as Kelly’s Cafe.
But the police, who had agreed 38 conditions, wanted the earlier time because they feared the later hours would increase the risk of violence in what is already a crime hotspot – the area around Queen Street.
The proposed nightspot 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.
Mr Oyston’s legal representative, Trevor Colebourne, argued that the venue’s clients – such as solicitors and bankers – would be so “high end” they would not be the sort to get embroiled with such problems and would be likely to go straight home afterwards.
With high class food such as steaks costing between £25 and £30 and more exclusive types of alcohol, the as yet un-named venue would be too classy an establishment to add to crime issues and would improve the neighbourhood and the old cafe premises, the hearing was told
But Coun Alistair Humphreys told Mr Oyston, who was at the town hall hearing: “These ‘high end’ people are just people with more money – they could be stags and hens with money. You have no idea who your clients will be. The police have a better idea because they have to police this area of town.”
Coun Adrian Hutton, chairman of the licensing panel , added: “If I was looking to open a high end establishment, the area close to Queen Street is not the area I would choose.”
Mr Colebourne said serving food would cease at around nine’o clock and the venue would then have live music and DJs.
The customers would not be the sort to knock back a few drinks and then spill out, he said, but they would instead be more likely to stay there.
However, the venue’s success would rest upon the drinks still being served until 2am because if it closed earlier people might go elsewhere, he argued.
The ground floor bar and restaurant will have a maximum capacity of 150, 60 of which will be seated covers.
Sgt Helen Parkinson, of Blackpool Police, told the hearing: “The basis of our objection is that this is a cumulative impact zone - for example between 2am and 3am there have been incidents in this area of a policeman being punched in the face, a male being bottled and stamped on and threats made to door staff.
“We have no doubt this establishment would be well run but after the food stopped being served there would be five hours’ pure drinking time if this application went ahead.”
In approving permission for the nightspot, the panel added one more condition – that no person may remove alcohol from the grounds unless consumed in the venue’s drinking areas on the Promenade and Queen Street.
In a statement, Mr Oyston told The Gazette: “Although disappointed not to have received a 2am licence, in light of the pre-agreed conditions with the police, I fully acknowledge the decision of the licensing committee and will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities moving forward.
“I am still pleased to have been granted a licence for the sale of alcohol until 1am and now look forward to the completion of the development.”