A Northampton club has had its capacity reduced after police called for its licence to be reviewed in the wake of public disorder incidents outside venue.
The review of Academy on the corner of Gold Street and College Street was prompted following two occasions where police had to employ public order tactics to control clubgoers outside the venue.
Councillor Tony AnsellIt’s the sort of thing I see on TV programmes, not here in Northampton
The first incident on October 24 last year saw 25 officers deployed, who then had to use batons to control a sizeable crowd, many of whom had become enraged that they could not gain access to the club, despite having bought tickets to see the main act DJ Kyze.
On the second occasion, on December 28, a fight inside the venue spilled out onto the street and police had to step in to control what it called ‘a large and volatile crowd’.
Today councillors on Northampton Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee reduced the venue’s overall capacity from 550 to 380 and imposed measures requiring its bosses to produce a health and safety management plan every time they run an external promoter event.
Councillor Christopher Malpas (Con, Billing) said the licensing panel “seriously considered reducing the opening hours of the premises” as a result of the police incidents.
The committee imposed further requirements for the venue management to take greater control over ticket sales to such events, to install a second handrail on the main stairs and to put plans in place to manage punters as they leave the venue to stop any disorder erupting.
During the meeting the licensing committee councillors raised a number of concerns about the venue.
Councillor Tony Ansell (Con, Abington) said the fact the premises had only one handrail on the main stairs and that its bosses had not updated the fire evacuation procedures since taking over the club in May 2014, showed ‘poor housekeeping.”
On the incidents where police were called out, Councillor Ansell said: “People want to go out and enjoy themselves in town and have a nice time, they don’t want to see this sort of thing at night.
“It’s the sort of thing I see on TV programmes, not here in Northampton.”
Councillor Malpas said the licensing committee had major concerns about the venue’s use of outside promoters to organise special events.
Both the times police were called out to the venue related to night’s organised by a third party.
Councillor Malpas said: “The moment we get these outside promoters coming into town we get someone sat here in front of us, (the licensing committee) because the promoter has taken the money and left the owners holding the baby.”
Club manager Russel Adinkra, representing Academy at the meeting, said he was happy to comply with the recommendations set out by the panel.
He said, since the police were called out to the venue, eight door staff have since been employed on busy evenings and police have been allowed to vet any external promoters before they are allowed to run a night at the club.
The current management took over the venue in May 2014, less than a year after a clubber had his face “slashed” with a knife following a fight outside there in July 2013.
Mr Adinkra said: “We came in with a new perspective, we came in with a new face to the business.
“We didn’t want to carry running it the way it was left.”