Club told to close earlier to cut trouble

The Chicago Rock Cafe in Fareham
The Chicago Rock Cafe in Fareham

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A TOWN centre nightclub has had its hours cut in a bid to reduce drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Chicago Rock Cafe in Vannes Parade, is the only venue in Fareham to serve alcohol until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

But licensing officers from Hampshire police had asked Fareham Borough Council to reduce the trading hours to midnight after several incidents of drunken behaviour and violence.

Yesterday, the licensing panel cut the opening hours to 1.30am, with the bar closing at 1am.

Police showed the panel CCTV footage of bouncers kicking and punching customers.

Roger Trencher, representing Hampshire police, said: ‘It’s an establishment that runs its business in a way that relies on as many young people as it can get until closing time to the point where they leave intoxicated, drunk and causing problems.

‘It’s a poor state of affairs for Fareham. As much as we want to work with this establishment, it is a drain on our resources. It has required a high police presence relative to the size of the establishment which is paid for by taxpayers.’

After the decision, he added: ‘We are pleased that they have accepted our evidence. We are very hopeful that that will lead to a reduction in the problems we are seeing in Fareham.’

Paul Harbottle, chief executive officer of Atmosphere Bars and Clubs which owns the club, said: ‘I’m shocked by what we have seen today on CCTV. It’s appalling. That team doesn’t exist any more.’

He said that the club has introduced an ID scanning device and body worn cameras for bouncers.

‘I can’t promise there will be no incidents but I do believe that the steps we have taken can offer the fair people of Fareham an opportunity to have a dance in a safe venue that doesn’t drain the police,’ he said.

Afterwards, he said: ‘Given what we were shown, the decision was fair. But we will have a number of venues turning out at the same time and that may cause some difficulties for the police.’