D-Day for Sunderland club

Ben Wall and Paul Smiles

Ben Wall and Paul Smiles

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THE future of one of Sunderland’s most important music venues is set to be decided by councillors.

Ben Wall and Paul Smiles, owners of Independent, are hopeful a licence will be granted for their new venue, across the street from their condemned former Holmeside home.

The pair hope to be allowed to sell alcohol until 4am from Sunday to Wednesday and 5am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

They also want to be able to stage live music at the venue for a further half-an-hour every night.

Northumbria Police will object to the plans, unless the venue meets a strict criteria for reducing the risk of crime, including adequate CCTV coverage and staff training to ensure alcohol is not sold to anybody under age.

They also claim Independent should only need to stay open until 3.30am, but Mr Wall insists without the later closing time his club could not survive.

“At the moment, we need to be able to compete with other venues in the area,” he said.

“Without it, we haven’t got a dedicated space for bands to play.

“Our CV of acts we’ve brought to Sunderland includes Alt J and The Klaxons.

“The only beneficiary to us closing would be Newcastle.”

The proposals will be heard by the sub-licencing committee at the Civic Centre, at 10am tomorrow.