CHIEFS of a Woking nightclub have challenged the actions served against them by the council’s licensing committee.
On February 12 the committee agreed on a review of Bed Bar’s licence, including reduced opening hours, after widespread complaints about the Church Path club.
Surrey Police had called the meeting with Woking Borough Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee because Bed Bar had the highest number of incidents recorded out of all licensed premises in the county in the previous year.
To alleviate the problems, the pol-ice requested that the club’s opening hours be reduced and that greater restrictions be placed on the number of people who are admitted at any one time.
Licensing Committee Chairman Councillor Carl Thomson told the News & Mail on Tuesday: “The committee made the decision to restrict Bed Bar’s opening hours on the grounds of evidence from Surrey Police which showed the club were responsible for a number of serious incidents contributing to the disorder problem in Woking town centre.
“The restrictions we put in place were proportionate and deemed by the committee to be necessary to meet our objectives of preventing nuisance and antisocial behaviour and protecting the public from harm.
“The club have the right, under the licensing legislation, to appeal and I understand the court will hear their case in due course.”
At the February meeting, Counsel for Surrey Police, Robert Cohen, told a panel –made up of Cllrs Thomson, Ken Howard and Amanda Coulson – that there had been 47 criminal incidents involving Bed Bar over the year.
These included GBH, aggravated assault, drunk and disorderly conduct, drug offences, theft, criminal damage and sexual assault. He said that much of the violence and disorder in Woking at weekends stemmed from the club.
A witness statement from Neighbourhood Officer PC Philip Beach described a brawl outside Bed Bar last October involving around 25 people, with ‘two or three groups fighting, punching, and screaming and shouting’.
Cllr Howard said: “You can understand why we are concerned that the most violent club in Surrey is right in the middle of Woking.”
Cllr Thomson has pointed out the council expected to see ‘real improvements’ at the nightclub. He said: “This was a difficult decision to make and serious consideration was given to revoking Bed Bar’s licence.
“However, it was felt the new management deserved one final opportunity to demonstrate that the changes being made can work.”
The club’s representative claims the action taken was disproportionate to the problems reported.
A date for the hearing at Guildford Magistrates’ Court has yet to be confirmed.