Northampton bar temporarily closed after Bridge Street ‘riot’ is given the all clear to open

Jerome Caseman, left, and Shane Graham are glad to be able to reopen Nu Bar on Bridge Street tonight following its temporary suspension.
Jerome Caseman, left, and Shane Graham are glad to be able to reopen Nu Bar on Bridge Street tonight following its temporary suspension.

The owner of a Bridge Street bar – which had its licence suspended after a 60-man brawl outside another venue in Northampton – said he is ‘thrilled’ to be able to reopen tonight.

Northampton man Shane Graham said was ‘gutted’ to find his newly opened nightspot Nu Bar given orders to close after its opening night.

Northampton Borough Council suspended the venue’s licence because it was believed a number of people involved in the stabbings outside Faces Bar, also on Bridge Street, had been drinking at Nu Bar first.

Yesterday, after a licensing hearing was held in private, the borough council said Nu Bar would be able to open as soon as it had completed a risk assessment and imposed a number of safety measures.

But Mr Graham, 30, from Abington, said all of the required measures, including using a clicker to count the number of people entering the venue, were already in place on the night of December 11, when the disturbance occurred.

At around 4pm today Mr Graham met with members of Northamptonshire Police and borough council licensing officers, who gave him the all clear to reopen the bar tonight.

He said: “I think our treatment was initially harsh - however I’m happy to work with the local authority and the police with regards to moving forward.”

Floor manager for the venue, Jerome Caseman, 32, also felt Nu Bar was unfortunate to have its licence suspended on the opening night, which was a ticketed event organised by outside promoters.

“We can categorically say through what we know from our CCTV and staff, that no one was harmed on that night and we kept a safe environment.” He said, adding that the venue chose to shut early that night as it was at and there were “80 to 100 people still queuing outside.”

Mr Graham, who spent around £80,000 refurbishing the premises after it had been derelict for two years, said he made sure all security measures were in place before his opening night and even runs a security company as well.

Now he says he wants to concentrate on running a successful business.

“We are definitely going out to the student demographic with the location of the venue, particularly with the prospect of the new student campus soon to be built by Midsummer Meadow.” He said.

“That’s why we chose this location.

Mr Caseman added: “There is a hole in the market for student orientated venues - this is the void that Shane is hoping to fill.”

As part of completing the borough council risk assessment, NU Bar cannot hold any events organised by an outside promoter.

A 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a 60-man brawl in Bridge Street, Northampton, in which six people were stabbed. Police were called to the area at about 3.30am last Friday after a fight broke out in Faces bar and then spilled out into the street.

Councillor David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council said: “Following the incident last week the management of Nu Bar has been working with our officers and those at Northamptonshire Police. It is clear they take their responsibilities seriously and this can be seen in how quickly they have made the changes required by our Licensing Sub-Committee. With all of the conditions met, I am pleased to see that the bar can reopen.

“Police and Licensing Officers will continue to monitor the situation and we will take any further action we deem necessary over this busy period to keep the public safe.”