Decision deferred over Astoria's plan for extended mid-week licence

A DECISION on whether to extend Portsmouth's biggest nightclub's mid-week licence has been pushed back.

Wednesday, 16th August 2017, 4:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:21 am
The Astoria in Guildhall Walk

Councillors from the city council’s sub-licensing committee debated The Astoria’s application during a meeting at the Guildhall today.

However, despite four hours of proceedings before the three-man panel was due to sit in private to make a decision, it was determined to hold off discussing an outcome as Councillor David Fuller could not continue due to other commitments.

Any decision needs all three members present and so has been delayed until next Tuesday afternoon.

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The club had made the application in light of Pryzm being granted extended hours during the week by the committee earlier this year.

Concerns had been raised by police ahead of the meeting that an amended licence could lead to a detrimental effect on the Guildhall Walk area.

Arguing the case for the licence, Phillip Day, the club’s solicitor told councillors that with both clubs open later during the week, violence in the area could decrease.

He said: ‘I would suggest that an amended licence will not add to an increase in disorder in the area. The likelihood is that there would be a decrease.

‘By having two clubs open for the students in this area at the same times, it would lead to a gradual dispersion of students.’

Both clubs currently lie in the cumulative impact zone (CIZ) – a special designated area set up by the city council to tackle disorder in the area.

PC Pete Rackham, licensing officer at Hampshire Constabulary told councillors: ‘There is a huge issue with violence in the area. The violence in this areas is far higher when it is compared with other areas such as Palmerston Road and Osborne Road that have more licensed premises.

‘There is a disproportion of violence in the CIZ and there does not appear to be a downward trend. These are well-run venues but the issue comes when the people go out into the street.’

The committee panel will meet on Tuesday at 3.30pm before announcing a decision.