Club could be stripped of its licence

PUBLISHED: 08:15 24 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

A lapdancing club and well-known bar faces being the first venue in Norfolk to be stripped of its licence after a raft of complaints from elderly guests staying in the hotel above.

A lapdancing club and well-known bar faces being the first venue in Norfolk to be stripped of its licence after a raft of complaints from elderly guests staying in the hotel above.

The Long Bar and Angels lapdancing club complex, on Marine Parade in Yarmouth, courted controversy last summer by applying for a licence to play music and serve alcohol from 10am until 6am each day.

That application was soon withdrawn after managers at the New Beach Hotel, which caters for elderly people on coach trips and is located directly above the complex, went on a spirited offensive.

But the application was resubmitted and granted this April after Long Bar owner Mike Butcher, who is also Hopton Parish Council chairman, brought in specialist sound engineers to reconfigure its system.

That persuaded Yarmouth Borough Council's licensing committee that sound proofing and new equipment limiting emissions meant that noise problems for guests above were things of the past.

Under the new licensing act that came into place last November, the Long Bar was granted a 6am licence to serve alcohol and play music - but was warned that if music higher than 35 decibels was recorded, it faced being hauled back before the committee.

New powers give local authorities far greater say over erring premises and place far greater emphasis on environmental health - powers that will be tested in a review of the Long Bar's licence next week.

Karen Sawbridge, operations director of New Beach Hotel owners Leisureplex, requested the review after accusing the Long Bar of "excessive noise disturbance" and "repeated abuse of its licence".

Yesterday she said: "I'd be the first to say the noise levels are considerably better than they were last summer and we're really grateful for that.

"The noise has been reduced but it is still 35 at a minimum and often more - so while it's a step in the right direction what they've done is still just a drop in the ocean.

"We're not here to spoil other people's businesses and we wish the Long Bar owners well but they should return the compliment. With the number of complaints we're receiving we will be unable to sustain our business, which is why we've had to request this review."

Evidence submitted to the committee include a report from council environmental health officer Sarah Flatman and letters of complaint from residents who say noise has kept them up all night.

Edina Duckworth, from Accrington in Lancashire, wrote: "The noise was horrendous. It's not good for this hotel's future so you will be left with another derelict building on your lovely seafront."

And Gillian Wood wrote: "The brochure said the location was lively but it was more like Bedlam, the two public houses below the hotel were total mayhem, pure mental torture. It was a holiday from hell, I will not be recommending it to anyone."

Yesterday council solicitor Chris Skinner said the committee would have the power to leave the licence as it was, alter its terms or strip the complex of its licence completely.

He added that the councillors, who meet on Wednesday June 28, will be flying blind with - as far as he was aware - no precedents set in any other local authorities in the area.

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