A ROW has broken out over a bid for more drinking time for clubbers.
The Loveshack nightclub, in the Walkergate development in Durham City’s Millennium Square, wants to open an extra hour each night until 3.30am.
However, objections have been made by the police, residents, City of Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods and the licensing authority’s environmental protection officer.
Durham Constabulary says it is fed up of dealing with early-morning drunkenness and yobbish behaviour in the area.
Officers have catalogued a series of thefts and assaults in the last 12 months and are currently investigating two sexual assaults linked to the Loveshack, including an alleged rape in the club’s VIP area last month.
In a report to councillors, licensing officer Sergeant Tim Robson said: “I have no doubt that should this application be approved there will be an undermining of prevention of crime and public nuisance objectives.
“My experiences of the night-time economy shows individuals will continue to consume alcohol either until they run out of money or until the premises closes.”
He added: “Drunkenness and disorder will continue, fuelled by the impact of 600 patrons spilling into Claypath at 3.30am.”
Sgt Robson said there will be a knock-on effect as other clubs apply for later hours to compete and hot food takeaways seek to open later to serve those leaving the clubs.
He also fears that there could be disorder as late as 4.30am and residents’ quality of life will be eroded as clubbers walk home in the early hours.
City-centre resident David Hook said: “Those of us in Claypath and surrounding streets already suffer from noise, antisocial behaviour, vandalism and filthy streets.
“Increasing hours will only add to it.”
He added: “A better plan would be to reduce opening hours which would save public money spent on policing, accident and emergency treatment and cleaning the mess off the streets to say nothing of saving the health of revellers.”
Loveshack bosses say they run the club responsibly, employing between five and eight door supervisors who are instructed to refuse entry to anyone who is drunk or inappropriately dressed.
Councillors are due to debate the application at a meeting of Durham County Council’s licensing committee, at 10am on Wednesday.
The meeting is open to the public and takes place in the Council Chamber of the main council offices in Spennymoor.