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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Adam Postans

Rumors nightclub in Kingswood granted 3am booze licence

A Kingswood nightclub has been granted a later licence to serve alcohol until 3am at the second attempt despite accusations about “violent assaults and criminal damage” outside the venue. Rumors Lounge Bar and Pub in Regent Street had its previous application in April rejected by South Gloucestershire councillors after environmental health lodged an objection following complaints from neighbours about loud music.

But since then Wayne and Jean Houghton, who run the premises, have installed a new soundproof rear fire door and there have been no further complaints. Licensing sub-committee members approved extensions to the licence on Tuesday, December 13, after hearing the police and other authorities, including the council’s noise team, did not oppose the request and only one resident and a councillor objected.

Rumors solicitor Jeremy Woodcraft told the panel at Kingswood civic centre that none of the late-night antisocial behaviour in the town centre, including mass brawls and vandalism, came from the bar but were caused by drunken teenagers congregating around an off-licence. He said one incident last month highlighted by the resident who objected happened at 3.30am – 90 minutes after Rumors closed its doors, so “it couldn’t have been anything to do with us”.

Read more: Kingswood nightclub Rumors loses bid to stay open until 3.30am amid noise concerns

Mr Woodcraft said the club was not just a late-night drinking establishment but had regular live bands and DJs who had a following who paid to see them, so it wasn’t just “anyone wandering in”. He said the extra hours were needed to make the business financially sustainable.

Mr Woodcraft said that, unlike the previous hearing, there was no representation from environmental health, which was now satisfied with the work carried out to contain the noise. Addressing the objections, he told the panel: “The premises wholeheartedly rejects the suggestion that there are disputes starting inside Rumors and escalating outside the premises into assaults and criminal damage – this is categorically not the case.”

One of the objectors, who was not named, wrote: “The residents around the premises are being hugely impacted by the conduct of customers as they leave the premises. Complaints are often about excessive noise and nuisance, but just as often, the complaints are about disputes starting inside Rumors, and then escalating off the premises into violent assaults and criminal damage to businesses and private property.

“Rumors apparently wash their hands of the issue once their customers are outside of the club.” The previous hearing In April was told nine complaints had been received from residents about public nuisance from the nightclub in the previous 12 months and that Mr Houghton received a final warning letter from the police’s neighbourhood inspector and the council’s licensing team leader in July 2021 for breaches of covid restrictions.

The letter said CCTV showed that “door supervisors watched an assault taking place outside and then admitted the perpetrator”. But the licence holder had since made improvements, including changing the company supplying the bouncers and replacing the fire door, and there had been no further complaints, the panel on Tuesday heard.

The new licence means the club can open until 3.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, with last orders half an hour earlier – 90 minutes later than at present – while live and recorded music was extended by two hours from 1am to a 3am cut-off. Opening hours from Sunday to Wednesday were extended from 11pm to 1am to match Thursday, with hot food and booze sales ending at 12.30am.

There will also be an extra door supervisor. Announcing the sub-committee’s decision, Cllr Keith Cranney said: “The applicant has actively worked to address historic problems of crime and disorder.

“No objection had been received from the police or other responsible authority, and while objections had been received on the grounds of nuisance and the prevention of crime and disorder, these could not be directly attributed to Rumors. Since the previous application was refused, a noise limiter and a new acoustic door on London Road have been installed which mitigated the sound to acceptable levels.”

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