Pryzm faces police fears over plans to extend alcohol licence during week

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OBJECTIONS have been raised by police over plans for a nightclub to sell alcohol until 3am during the week due to fears regarding an escalation in violence around Guildhall Walk.

Pryzm – formerly Liquid & Envy – opened up the public last Friday following a substantial £1m renovation.

The current licence allows it to sell alcohol until 2am from Sunday to Thursday, with drinks sold up to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Under the new proposed conditions, the club in Stanhope Road would stay open until 3.30am during the week and maintain its current closing time of 4am on Fridays and Saturdays.

But Pryzm’s proposals have now reached a stumbling block as police are objecting to the plans on the grounds that the revised conditions would lead to ‘incidents of crime and disorder’.

Portsmouth City Council imposed strict conditions on the club when it was Liquid & Envy in 2015 following a series of attacks in the club – including one in which a woman kicked a bouncer in the face.

The conditions included a requirement for security staff having a minimum of three-body worn camera and for four bouncers on the doors after 8pm.

PC Pete Rackham, a licensing officer, said in a letter to the council: ‘It is the belief of the chief officer of police that the granting of the application as it stands will not only lead to a negative cumulative effect on the area but will also lead to incidents of crime and disorder at the premises itself. As such the chief officer of police requests that the licence be refused and not granted.’

PC Rackham pointed to violent crime statistics from the Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) for the Guildhall Walk area – set up in 2010 by the force following an escalation in violence – which found that the area accounts for 45 per cent of all night-time economy violence in Portsmouth between Sundays and Thursdays.

The CIZ also identified that the peak times for violent incidents is between 8pm and 5am and that the number of night time violent offences for the area had increased year on year for the last three years.

PC Rackham added: ‘It is the belief of the chief officer of police that these facts show that there is a very real and prevalent issue with violence in the CIZ, particularly during the times the applicant wishes to operate.’

The police said the premises has been closed from Sunday to Thursday for the majority of the last 18 months and that there is not ‘a clear picture’ as to how it operates during these days.

A council licensing officer has also recommended the application be refused, and said: ‘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.’

A spokesperson for Pryzm said: ‘We have just invested £1m in creating a new club for the city, creating 75 jobs and are looking forward to producing world-class entertainment that will generate valuable revenue for Portsmouth.

‘We are a professional and responsible retailer and work closely with the authorities to ensure people coming to our venue and into the city can enjoy a fun and safe night out.’

A decision will be made on Tuesday.