New licence conditions to be imposed on Wellingborough club

Palm Beach Bar & Club

Palm Beach Bar & Club

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New conditions are to be imposed on a Wellingborough club after concerns about violence, drugs and alcohol being sold to underage drinkers.

Palm Beach Bar & Club in Wellingborough was the subject of a licence hearing by Wellingborough Council’s licensing sub-committee today (Tuesday).

PC Kevin Murphy of Northamptonshire Police said the grounds for a review were that the licensing objectives of prevention of crime and disorder and the protection of children from harm not being met.

A report said there had been several occasions where police have had an involvement in the premises in Commercial Way and officers had concerns over violence, service of alcohol to youngsters under-18 and drug use.

Several incidents were highlighted, including when DJ Tim Westwood was appearing at the club in November 2012.

Police said large numbers turned up to the event and extra officers were put on duty, with some assisting the club by staffing a knife arch.

At about 4am, police said a large fight broke out outside the club and a male sustained facial injuries.

Another incident given was two male customers involved in the theft of a wallet which had been put on the bar by a customer buying a drink on June 15, 2013.

CCTV footage helped police identify two suspects, who were subsequently arrested.

It turned out the thief was a 16-year-old boy who became aggressive to officers and was under the influence of alcohol.

In-house CCTV showed the boy had been part of a larger group inside the premises that evening.

The panel was also told that on one occasion “there was such an overwhelming stench of cannabis” that the sniffer dog was unable to carry out its work.

During the hearing, a representative spoke on behalf of Wellingborough Pubwatch and raised the group’s concerns about the knock-on effect for other pubs in the town if police are regularly called to Palm Beach and unable to respond to incidents elsewhere.

He also said problems such as underage drinking or violence could have a detrimental effect on the town’s night-time economy and reputation.

Sanjai Tailor from Pubwatch said: “Pubwatch is made up of a collective of landlords whose livelihood is based on the local economy.

“It’s important to have responsible retailers.”

Mr Tailor said Palm Beach had been a member of Pubwatch but was removed from the organisation in early 2013 due to not paying its fees.

In response to the concerns raised, the club’s managing director Khavan Haye answered questions from his legal representative and the panel.

His sister and mother, who also work at the club, also took questions.

During the hearing, Mr Haye said the club was a community club, which caters for all ages and has parties for disabled people as well as under-18s, had a zero tolerance to drugs and work was ongoing to come up with new policies to deal with issues raised by police.

Before the panel left to deliberate, Sgt Mark Worthington said: “Our suggestion to you is that we strongly suggest that revocation is the only option available to you.”

The legal representative for Palm Beach said: “My submission is that it’s not necessary to revoke the licence in this case.

“There’s nothing like a licence review to focus the mind.”

After about 45 minutes of deliberation, the panel said it would not revoke or suspend the club’s licence, but revised conditions would be imposed on the club’s licence.

The new stricter conditions will be drawn up within the next five days.

In summing up the panel’s decision, chairman Cllr Malcolm Waters said: “We need to go forward and we need to go forward together.”