Our client took over an entertainment venue on the outskirts of the city, set on a semi industrial site within a residential area. There was a history of difficulties at the premises, which had resulted in police attendance on a number of occasions. He was not fully advised of the history by the vendor. He brought in new promoters whose followers turned out to be as likely to cause disturbance as the previous patrons. On one particular night a fracas occurred between two patrons outside the premises but within the confines of the industrial site which involved the firing of a gun. The police were called and promptly ordered our client to close the premises and not to re-open then until an action plan for management of the premises had been agreed by them, otherwise they would seek revocation of the licence.
On receiving instructions, we contacted the local licensing officer to discuss the concerns. We explained our client’s recent involvement in the premises and explored what measures might be needed to satisfy the police that our client could manage the premises properly and without further incident. Getting the venue re-opened as quickly as possible was a priority for our client because he had bookings for a number of events in the following weeks and they represented his sole source of revenue, as the premises were not open for ordinary trading. Whilst the police had taken no steps to obtain a closure order to stop our client re-opening, it was clear that they would use the history and the most recent occurrence to take revocation proceedings if the premises were re-opened without an agreed action plan in place.
By speaking to the officer in charge and then attending a meeting between our client and the police, over the next few days, we were able to negotiate an action plan that met the police’s requirements and our client’s needs. The result was that the premises re-opened before the next booked event and no revocation proceedings were issued. Whilst the negotiations were time intensive, the cost to the client was far less than would have been the case if proceedings had been taken and of course the outcome was certain, with the premises still able to trade.