St Neots nightclub ordered to close for three months

THE St Neots nightclub which was closed following a drive-by shooting and a kidnapping on its doorstep has had its licence suspended. Unique Bar and Nightclub, which was formerly the King s Head Hotel in South Street, will be shut for three months. Once

THE St Neots nightclub that was closed following a drive-by shooting and a kidnapping on its doorstep has had its licence suspended.

Unique Bar and Nightclub, which was formerly the King's Head Hotel in South Street, will be shut for three months.

Once it starts trading again, the venue will be subject to strict licensing conditions, including no longer being allowed to operate as a nightclub.

The future of Unique Bar was called into question after a series of violent incidents just before Christmas, which led to the police shutting down the venue.


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Yesterday (Tuesday) Huntingdonshire District Council's licensing sub-committee met to decide the future of the town's only nightclub.

During the meeting Richard Wormald, counsel for Punch Taverns, which holds the licence on the premises, said the nightclub aspect had attracted trouble and the venue "went downhill very quickly".

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He said the previous tenants had now left, and the company intended to refurbish the venue over a three to nine month period and revert it into a traditional pub.

Punch Taverns said the new-look premises would be family-friendly with an emphasis on home-cooked food and cask ale in a bid to attract a different clientele.

The new management plan was agreed by the chairman of the licensing panel, Councillor John Sadler. But he said a three-month licence suspension was needed to show that the concerns surrounding the premises were being "taken very seriously".

This is the second time HDC has suspended the licence on the same venue, after drug allegations led to the closure of the premises for eight weeks in April 2007.

When the pub reopens, it will be banned from offering some drink promotions, including happy hours, it will have to close at 11pm or midnight and ensure its CCTV is regularly maintained.

Cllr Sadler said: "Hopefully everyone is happy with the outcome, and we can move on and have a happy state of affairs in St Neots.

"We look forward to the reopening of the premises and hopefully we won't be sat around this table again. We do not want any more problems."

Carl Howells, area manager for Punch Taverns, said he was "generally happy" with the outcome and said the closure would allow "the dust to settle". He added: "We do not want to rush things. This time we want to get it right."

St Neots Sector Inspector Mark Greenhalgh welcomed the decision, saying police would be working with Punch Taverns to ensure the new premises operated in a way that was beneficial to both parties and the public.

He added: "It has to be commercially sound for Punch Taverns but it also has to be a safe place for the people of St Neots."

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