‘Catastrophic’ management failure sees Lowestoft social club lose licence

The Sea-Breeze Club on Commercial road, Lowestoft.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Sea-Breeze Club on Commercial road, Lowestoft.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A man suffered life-threatening injuries after he was hit around the head with a beer barrel as shouting and screaming onlookers raced for cover.

The Sea-Breeze Club on Commercial road, Lowestoft.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Sea-Breeze Club on Commercial road, Lowestoft.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Trouble flared with two serious assaults during a party at a bar and social club in Lowestoft, which was attended by adults with learning difficulties and children with their parents.

Both assaults, which involved the same two men, led to the premises licence at the Sea Breeze social club in Lowestoft being revoked and the venue has now closed.

At a meeting of Waveney District Council's licensing sub-committee on Monday, it was heard that a 'catastrophic failure of management' at the club in Commercial Road on October 30 had occurred when a man assaulted a second man at the bar.

Later that night, 'in retaliation', the man who had earlier been assaulted hit the man who had attacked him with a beer keg outside the venue.

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The committee heard how the man collapsed and fell to the floor unconscious with other people screaming and shouting and running back into the club. The pub did not call police or the ambulance service that night. Earlier this month, police called for the premises licence summary review and councillors were told that within the past few days, 'the licence holders – Mr and Mrs Cowell – have surrendered the premises licence'.

At the hearing, Suffolk Constabulary licensing officer John Corkett said after the 'initial bottling' the licence holder, who is also the DPS (designated premises supervisor), 'could have done something about it – but did not do so'.

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Later, when the man had collapsed unconscious outside, Mr Corkett said: 'There was no call to the emergency services. It was obvious to everyone he was quite badly hurt.

'Police would say that was a catastrophic failing of management as male one suffered a very serious head injury and no-one helped him.

'He eventually left in a taxi, but was in a terrible state and was taken to the James Paget Hospital the next day and then transferred to Addenbrooke's for surgery to reduce bleeding on the brain. He had to have 35 staples in his head and although he has since discharged himself – his decision – he is unable to work.

'This is a terrible situation that could and should have been prevented.'

The licence holders did not attend Monday's hearing and no-one else involved with the premises was present.

In concluding that the premises licence should be revoked, Waveney's licensing sub-committee chairman, Norman Brooks, said: 'We are satisfied that the events on this evening show gross irresponsibility by the licence holders and the designated premises supervisor.'

At the time of going to press, Mr and Mrs Cowell had not responded to calls for comment.

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