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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Zero Zero licensing application

We are writing to oppose this application.

Most, if not all the conditions the applicant is seeking to remove or modify, were imposed only this year after the committee had heard and seen evidence of appalling scenes of noise, disorder and drunkenness resulting from the trading at these premises. The police also gave evidence of drug dealing over an extended period of time for which successful criminal prosecutions had been brought.

The imposition of these new conditions has created a significant improvement in the level of nuisance generated by the operation of these premises.

Given the relative success of these conditions we are very concerned to see the management of these premises seeking to have them removed or made less effective.

A brief visit to their social media site shows that the re-branded Zero Zero primarily targets young people and does this on the basis of cheap drink offers. A sample offer from their Facebook site being:

£1 Smirnoff & Red Bull (Before Midnight)
£1 BOMBS ALL NIGHT
£2.50 Corona Beer or £10 for bucket of 5
£3 House Doubles

We are particularly concerned about the emphasis on cheap bombs and mixture of spirits with high caffeine drinks as these are frequently associated with drunkenness and disorder.

The information provided on the web site is very limited, but as we understand it the applicants are seeking to:

1. Lift capacity limits based on a risk assessment which they have commissioned. We are not clear what the basis of this assessment is but we would expect it include:
    - risks of drunk customers not being observed and continuing to be served alcohol
    - risks of early signs of disorder being missed
    - risks of injury to customers if disorder breaks out in a crowded club
    -risks of drug dealing being unobserved as the number of people in the club increases
If it does not include these things, we would oppose it being used as the basis for setting capacity limits.
2. Relaxing the recording conditions around toilet checks and staff training. We believe these should remain as a component of monitoring the compliance of premises that have shown such catastrophic failures of management in the recent past.
3. Reducing the numbers of door staff in attendance. This is a premises which, until these conditions were imposed, had an appalling track record on keeping good order in the premises, keeping illegal substances out of the premises and maintaining order when customers dispersed at the end of trading. We know of no substantive changes that the premise's management have made which are likely to make up for the reduction in door staff.
4. Removing the need to have a female door supervisor. We do not see how adequate checks can be made for dangerous or illegal substances or objects being brought into the premises if all door supervisors are male.

5. Removing the need for staff training to be provided by accredited providers. We can see no justification for this at all. Alcohol licensing law and practice are complex and subject to frequent change and this is a premise where in-house training has in the very recent past demonstrably failed to deliver best or even adequate practice in this area.

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