A WORTHING nightclub has avoided closure after it came together with police for last-minute mediation talks.
Liquid Lounge and the Light Bar, both in Chatsworth Road, had faced the possibility of being shut down after police called for the venues’ licences to be revoked.
This followed a number of alleged incidents on or near the premises involving drunkenness, including several violent assaults and an alleged serious sexual assault.
But following last-minute talks between police and the club’s operators, The Lounge Leisure Group, the two parties agreed on measures to crack down on problems at the club.
After tense deliberations, Worthing Borough Council’s licensing committee accepted the joint recommendations agreed by the two parties, which include the venues being closed for three weeks.
The decision, made at a licensing meeting on January 23, was met with clapping from the audience, which was largely made up of staff from the venues, which employ between 60 and 65 people part and full-time.
John Rogers, who chaired the licensing committee, said: “It’s not something we particularly want to see come before us again. “The warning shots have been fired.
“This has been a very serious issue and if this is brought back for review the committee may take a very different view next time.”
Speaking at the meeting, councillor Roger Oakley had called for the club to be closed for four weeks.
He said: “As far as I’m concerned, the gravity of the conduct is not matched by a three-week closure.”
However, councillor Michael Cloake described three weeks as a “lifetime in the night-time economy” and said the period was punishment enough, which councillor Bob Smytherman supported.
Peter Savill, representing Sussex Police, credited the venues’ management for being co-operative with police over the need for changes.
He said: “Police have been met with recognition that there have been issues.
“If the police had been met with denial or no indication things should change then I strongly suspect the stance would not have been the same and police would have sought revocation.”