POLICE are objecting to plans for a Portsmouth nightclub to sell alcohol until 3am during the week due to concerns regarding an escalation in violence around Guildhall Walk.
Pryzm – formerly Liquid & Envy – opened up the public last Friday following a substantial £1m renovation.
The nightclub’s 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.
It follows the granting of a restricted premises licence to South Parade Pier yesterday which could spell the end of club nights on the historic structure.
Pryzm’s proposals have now reached a stumbling block as Hampshire police are objecting to the plans on the grounds that the revised conditions would ‘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.’
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.PC Pete Rackham, Hampshire Police licensing officer
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 a minimum of three-body worn camera on security staff after 8pm 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 state that from their understanding 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 the premises operates during these days.
A council licensing officer has also recommended the application be refused.
The officer – whose name was blacked off a letter – said: ‘The licence holder has made no reference to the cumulative impact policy in the application and has provided no information to demonstrate how the grant of the application will not add to the existing cumulative impact in this area.
‘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.’
The committee will meet to decide on the application on Tuesday at Portsmouth Guildhall. The meeting starts at 9.30am.
The News has contacted the nightclub’s owners, the Deltic Group for comment.