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CHINGFORD: Police fail in bid to close nightclub
POLICE have failed in a bid to permanently close a nightclub after a string of fights and violent attacks.
Chanz in Old Church Road, Chingford, had its licence suspended yesterday (January 30) for a month by the council, but it stopped short of following police advice to close the venue for good.
The hearing came in the wake of eight serious incidents since 2010, including bottle attacks, brawls and allegations that bouncers beat customers with batons on two occasions.
Police accused licence holder Roland Sullivan of being “uncooperative”, but the Licensing Committee decided to give the business a chance to tighten security.
Members said they were not convinced that all the violent incidents cited were directly linked to the nightspot.
Panel member Cllr Farooq Qureshi told the Guardian: “We gave them the benefit of the doubt but this will send them a message.
“We heard the evidence and we had to weigh the evidence from both sides independently, which we did. A lot of it was one side’s word against the other.”
A report by PC Donna Willcox submitted to the council said: “Police worked closely with Mr Sullivan in the beginning and advised him regarding good practice.
“[But] For some time now, Mr Sullivan appears to be uncooperative and dismissive of his responsibilities as the DPS (designated premises supervisor).”
The report also revealed several police investigations into incidents have been abandoned due to a lack of CCTV, while one doorman at the venue has been charged with possession of an offensive weapon.
Recent crimes reported include an attack on a man outside the club by a gang of five people in November, an allegation that door staff beat up a customer in August and an attack with a glass last May which left a woman with cuts to the head and thigh.
Chanz can appeal the decision to suspend the licence but its unknown yet whether they will.
Co-owner Max Sinclair told the Guardian: “I was a bit surprised, I thought they would cut us back to 1am, but we respect the decision.
“We don’t want trouble in our club and we want to work to reduce it. We will sit down with the police and try to find out a way to make it safer, maybe with radios we can use to co-ordinate with the police to act on crime.
“I don’t think our late licence is a problem. There’s a lot of clubs and pubs open late here but I think perhaps the police keep a closer eye on ours because of its history.”
The venue was renamed the ‘The Bird Cage’ in 2010 and ‘Chanz’ in July 2011 in an effort to shake off the bad reputation of the previous Prince Albert pub on the site.
The venue is named after the former Charlie Chan's nightspot, which was located at the now defunct Walthamstow Stadium site.
It stays open on Fridays and Saturdays until 2am and 1am on Sundays.
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