Portsmouth nightclub granted late night alcohol licence during week despite police concerns

Portsmouth nightclub Pryzm has been granted an amended premises license to sell alcohol until 3am during the week.
Portsmouth nightclub Pryzm has been granted an amended premises license to sell alcohol until 3am during the week.
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A NIGHTCLUB has been granted an amended licence to sell alcohol until 3am during the week despite fears from police over the potential for an increase in violence in the area.

Pryzm - formerly known as Liquid & Envy - was granted the amendments to its premise licence by councillors on Portsmouth City Council's licencing sub-committee this morning despite objections from the police and the authority's own licensing manager.

Deltic Group - the club's operators - are planning to use the new licence to launch a Thursday student night to rival Tiger Tiger in Gunwharf Quays with more than 2,000 students set to move into the city centre in the coming year.

The panel decided to green light the amendments after being 'convinced' that the nightclub in Stanhope Road would be able to disperse clubbers from the Guildhall Walk Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) - an area set up in 2010 by the force to manage incidents in the area, to which Pryzm lies to the north of.

News readers backed the police's concerns regarding the proposals in a poll conducted last Thursday.

Of 717 readers, 53 per cent said 'No, the police are right to object to it' when asked the question of whether the club should be allowed the licensing amendments.

The amendments brings the licence in line with its times on Fridays and Saturdays where alcohol was already allowed to be served until 3am.

The club will also be allowed to stay open until 3.30am during the week.

Councillor Steve Pitt, who chaired the three-man panel, said: 'We were convinced that the club would be able to abide to the licensing objectives as we could see that it is an incredibly professional operation.

'Under the licensing laws applied to this application it will be one of the most regulated venues in the city.'

The club has previously not tended to run club nights during the week and councillors determined that a lack of evidence pertaining to violence around the night club from Sunday to Thursday showed they could not object to the proposals.

As part of agreeing to the licence amendments, councillors stipulated that after 2am, all members of door staff at the club must wear body cameras, that one member of door staff will be at the taxi rank on Station Street from 2am to help disperse customers and that two members of staff would be outside new student block Catherine House - also on Stanhope Road - to help students get home safely.

Nikki Humphreys, the council's licensing manager had said in advance of the meeting: 'Having regard to the concerns raised by the chief officer of police and the existence of the cumulative impact policy, I would strongly recommend that the licensing sub-committee refuse this application.'

Police had objected to the revised conditions ahead of the meeting with licensing officer PC Pete Rackham stating that further incidents of crime and disorder would occur at the premises should the licence be granted.

During the meeting, PC Rackham pointed to force statistics which states 45 per cent of all night-time economy violence in Portsmouth occurs between Thursdays and Sundays.

He said: 'We are still in a position where the level of violent crime in the CIZ is still at an unacceptable level. With more people now coming into the area, it could have a real impact. There is a very real and prevalent issue with the CIZ.'

The police have the right to appeal the decision but following the meeting's conclusion, PC Rackham ruled out doing do.

He said: 'We are not going to appeal and we will continue to work with the premises to make sure that Portsmouth is a safe environment for those who attend clubs in the area.'