Bid to convert nightclub on hold after trade boost

Chris Mooney owner of The Lounge in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Chris Mooney owner of The Lounge in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A Dereham businessman has put plans to convert his nightclub into flats on hold after extended opening hours boosted trade.

The Lounge, on Norwich Street, was given the go-ahead by Breckland Council's planning committee to be changed into two one-bedroom flats and a bedsit in February.

Owner Chris Mooney applied for the authority's permission when he said the club, which can host 150 party-goers, was no longer a 'viable business proposition'.

But after magistrates in Norwich overturned the council's licensing committee's decision to stop the club opening until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights, Mr Mooney says he now has no immediate plans to move the venue.

'We have now been given an opportunity to compete and become a much more viable business,' the 39-year-old said. 'We are still very busy, especially on Saturdays. So I don't want to close down a successful business.'

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In December, Mr Mooney said he wanted to move the club to the Church Street area of Dereham, where other night-time venues are based.

People living on Norwich Street welcomed the plans because of noise from the venue.

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But Mr Mooney has now sought to reassure neighbours saying that because he can now open the club later, noise will not be as bad a problem because partygoers will drip-feed out of the club gradually, rather than all at once at 12am.

The appeal now means the club can double-up as a venue available for hire for family parties as children are now permitted in the venue up until 12am.

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