Rave organiser knocked back again for Sunderland warehouse party

Chris Bungoni
Chris Bungoni
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A RAVE organiser has again had the plug pulled on plans to hold a warehouse party.

Chris Bungoni originally applied to host the party at a warehouse in Deptford Terrace, Sunderland, in January, but was knocked back after objections from police and environmental health bosses, who didn’t want a repeat of a “potentially fatal” party on Seaham Beach, which descended into chaos last year.

The 25-year-old was back before Sunderland City Council’s licensing committee to try and convince them to give the go ahead for the 400-people party – but was again told no.

Police were inundated with calls about illegal drug taking, drink driving and multiple assaults after about 500 people turned up on Blast Beach, Seaham, last September, at an event organised by Chris.

Reports to police included a reveller ending up in hospital on a ventilator with head injuries, another falling off a cliff breaking his ankle, while there were also reports of people being glassed, stabbed and hit over the head with a dumbbell.

Sunderland Chief Inspector Peter Storey, told the committee meeting at the Civic Centre last week: “I can’t overemphasise enough, that the events in September were potentially fatal – 500 drunken, drugged people on a beach, on a caveside, and in darkness. The seriousness of the events of that night clearly hasn’t been understood by Mr Bungoni. These were illegal events, illegally run and the consequences were serious.”

Chief Insp Storey said the warehouse at Shaw’s Building was not suitable due to the lack of infrastructure around it, which is needed to allow 400 people to get home safely at 4am, along with the lack of support of neighbouring door supervisors, taxi marshals and police officers you would get in the city centre on a Saturday night.

“We have 20 police officers to police the city centre on a weekend,” he added. “Which of these police officers do I take away from their post to police this unsafe event? It’s not my responsibilty to make it safe. It’s Mr Bungoni’s responsibility to prevent an event like that spiralling out of control.

“I don’t understand why he can’t run this in licenced premises, where we can manage crime and disorder. I have no doubt the event in Seaham will be repeated here.”

The meeting was also told there was not adequate CCTV systems in place and a report stated that Chris had a criminal record – the nature of which was not disclosed – which deemed him unsuitable to hold an alcohol licence, should he apply for one.

Health and safety officer Jeff Thompson said that due to the lack of fire escapes, the premises would only hold 60 people. He also said that when he visited there were aerosol cylinders inside.

But Chris told the meeting “it was unlikely there would be a fire” adding: “It seems as if no matter what I put in place there is always going to be an objection.”

Environmental health objected on the ground of potential noise nuisance to the nearest homes 230m away, saying there was no noise assessment.

Chris, of Roker, now has the option to appeal the counter notice.

Speaking to the Echo after the meeting, he said: “We are trying to make the police’s job easier. They are pushing us in the direction of going underground and illegal again.

“They keep mentioning the outdoor parties. What they don’t realise is if we haven’t got something like this in place, there are going to be illegal parties .

“So if anything you would think they would want it to work. I’m trying to do something good and positive.”