A popular nightclub has had it’s licence REVOKED after a series of ‘irresponsible’ drinks promotions led to an increase in crime.
Voodoo has been criticised by Hyndburn council for ‘frequent and flagrant’ breaches of licensing conditions which police claim have resulted in a seven-fold increase in alcohol-related crime incidents compared to 2015.
Nightclub bosses have confirmed they are appealing the decision and stressed that the Willow Street club will remain open over Christmas and New Year as the revocation doesn’t come into effect until early January.
The application to revoke the licence was made by the council after licensing bosses said a series of drinks ‘irresponsible drinks promotions’ in recent months were in breach of a mandatory condition on their licence and had led to crime and disorder.
The council said they have received no correspondence or representation from the nightclub’s licence holder or designated premises supervisor (DPS) since August 2017 and that they had ‘no alternative option available’.
Sgt Jason Middleton, of Lancashire Police, said they ‘fully support the application and reasoning for it’.
Speaking at a licensing meeting this week, he said: “We share the concerns regarding what can be described as an irresponsible drinks promotions at the premises and the apparent increase in crime and disorder that can be linked to this promotion.”
Sgt Middleton said there had been seven alcohol-related incidents at the nightclub between August 26 and October 14 this year - up from three in 2016 and just one in 2015.
The incidents included a ‘large scale disorder’ involving 10 people outside the club, one ‘absolutely paralytic’ girl being taken to hospital and another incident involving a female hitting another female in the face with a glass bottle.
Councillor Melissa Fisher, chair of the licensing sub-committee, told the meeting: “It doesn’t look good and it doesn’t look good for Accrington.
“Unfortunately Accrington’s nightlife has declined over the years. We want to see places that are open, used well and run responsibly.
“I am very, very concerned that despite emails and requests to stop these promotions there has been no response and it’s still carrying on.”
Voodoo will appeal council decision
Voodoo owners say they have launched an appeal against the council’s decision to revoke their licence.
A statement on the nightclub’s Facebook page said the council’s decision means ‘absolutely nothing’ and they are hopeful of ‘continuing as normal in January following a successful appeal’.
Owner and managing director Rick Stansfield attended the licensing meeting, however he was unable to speak at the hearing because he had not given prior notice to the council.
Speaking to the Observer after the meeting, Mr Stansfield said the club had implemented numerous changes following concerns raised by the police and licensing bosses.
These included increasing the number of door supervisors, having less bar staff to slow down the speed of service, decanting all glass bottles into plastic cups and ending ‘all inclusive’ drinks promotions which entitles clubbers who pay a one off fee to multiple drinks.
Mr Stansfield said this had led to a ‘significant drop in police incidents’.
He said: “The review first got brought to my attention due to a specific drinks deal we were running which was an ‘All Inclusive’ deal on Fridays.
“Before I started this promotion I spoke with Sgt Jason Middleton to discuss the deal and we agreed that it would be fine to implement but that it would be monitored.
“I like to work closely with the police and authorities in all aspects and regularly made contact with Jason to see if there were any issues he had.
“I take our responsibility very seriously for the public safety of our customers.”
Mr Stansfield, who has run the club since 2011, said drinks promotions have helped to quadruple the number of customers and also boosts other local businesses.
He said: “Our trade in Accrington is dying and Friday’s used to pull a customer base of around 50 to 70 customers.
“Now we have 300 customers on a Friday and it has put life back into Accrington nightlife, bringing more business not just for myself but other businesses in Accrington.
“If we were to stop drinks promotions then it would seriously put my company into difficulties and may even have to cease trading which would be a major loss to Accrington nightlife and not only would see the loss of jobs to 25 of my staff members but also other venues.”