Splitz night club in Dereham to be shut down for a month

Dereham's night club Splitz could have its license reviewed after an application from Norfolk Police

Dereham's night club Splitz could have its license reviewed after an application from Norfolk Police. Pictured, manager Michelle Menzies. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

Dereham's Splitz night club is having its licence suspended for a month after councillors ruled it had been 'badly run for a considerable period.'

Breckland's licensing committee decided on the action against the club in Quebec Street to allow 16 conditions to be introduced, including new CCTV cameras, more door staff, better training and an earlier cut off point for re-entry to the club.

Splitz will not be immediately shut and has 21 days to appeal the decision.

Councillors took two hours to make their decision and their deliberations came after hearing more than three hours of evidence of how the club had been plagued by violence, drunkenness and anti-social behaviour.

In the most serious case, a man suffered a broken jaw after an attack on the dance floor.

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A catalogue of other incidents have occurred including young girls passed out in front of the club and drunk people being served alcohol.

Police said they had been called to the club 50 times to the club in 12 months and they had asked for a three-month closure period.

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Nearby residents have complained about sexual activity in the local area, vomit and urine having to be pressure washed away and doors and windows being knocked on in the early hours.

The club was accused of poor management.

Splitz got support from local businesses who said they would suffer if the club was shut and people went elsewhere.

The Light Dragoons Army regiment also wrote to back the club. And there was a letter from the youth cafe, which is to be staged at Splitz on Thursday afternoons, saying Splitz had 'gone out of their way to help.'

Club owner Michelle Menzies told the hearing that she had already introduced new CCTV and employed more security staff.

She insisted they never allowed drunk people in the club, all staff were well trained to a high level and they did vigorous ID and drug checks.

Splitz head doorman Kurt Oliver said the police licensing team had 'not been very supportive.'

He said the club had 'an undeserved stigma' and he did not think the level of incidents was unusual.

Miss Menzies' solicitor Ian Fisher said she recognised that 'something fairly drastic had to be done to arrest the decline and make improvements.'

Committee chairman Gordon Bambridge said: 'There are long standing problems which exist with the premises and there are concerns regarding compliance with licence objectives.

'We found the premises have been badly run for a considerable period.'

He said the licence should be suspended for a month due to the 'unacceptable history of the premises.!

Norfolk Police's licensing officer Tony Grover said there was 'an unacceptable level of drunkenness and violent criminal behaviour' and it had caused 'much alarm and distress for local people.'

The club opens until 2am in the week, 4am on Friday and Saturday night, and at the back of the venue there is a complex for elderly people, as well as residential properties in the area.

The committee decided against imposing a condition to force the club to shut at 2am at weekends.

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