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Wigan Nightspot Has Hours Cut After Reports Of Violence

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 9:22am

By James Illingworth - Local Democracy Reporter

A Wigan nightspot has had its hours cut after police raised concerns about ‘serious incidents of disorder and assaults’.

Casino De Cuba has been ordered to close two hours earlier at weekends with an officer accusing management of having an attitude of ‘profit before public safety’.

Councillors opted to amend the licence of the Millgate venue despite hearing that reduced hours imposed at a previous hearing were ‘a killer’ for the business.

A local authority hearing on Wednesday was told the incidents that occurred in March had been a ‘blip’ on an otherwise decent record for the bar.

And company director Andrew Ballard said action to allay the police’s concerns had been taken since an interim hearing last month.

This has included the installation of a new CCTV system and a deal being reached with a security firm to provide regulated door staff.

He has previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the venue does not have an issue with disorder and said accounts of the incidents had been exaggerated.

Greater Manchester Police had asked the council to cut the bar’s licence from 4am to 1am at weekends, making interim measures imposed last month permanent.

But the panel chose to amend the licence to 2am instead, adding several conditions outlining safety objectives.

Councillors heard that violent incidents had been reported to police in March, including a ‘large scale brawl’ that caused a female customer and her friend to hide in the toilets and an assault that left the victim with a fractured eye socket.

The police licensing team had voiced concerns about insufficient incident record logs and highlighted that the venue’s insurance for door staff was not in-keeping with industry regulations.

PC Clive Rigby said: “I strongly believe that it is due to the poor management, non-compliance with premises licence conditions, neglect of due diligence driven by an obvious attitude of profit before public safety, that has led to an increase in violent incidents at the venue.”

Solicitor Graham Simpson, representing Casino De Cuba’s management, said many of GMP’s proposed licence conditions were not required and they were ‘trying to micro-manage how the premises are run.’

“He (Mr Ballard) has got a nine page original licence, this one will run to something like War and Peace, wouldn’t it?” Mr Simpson said.

PC Rigby responded: “I believe War and Peace is necessary in these circumstances.”

Mr Simpson later said: “Mr Ballard accepts the criticisms you have raised but the vast majority of the points you make would be good housekeeping for a well managed premises, you don’t need them written in tablets of stone.”

He added: “Up to this blip – they’re totally unacceptable incidents if they occurred as alleged, as none of them have been tested in a court of law yet.

“But…otherwise the history of this premises is relatively similar to others that operate in Wigan. And it is correct that since the restrictions have been put in place (last month), there haven’t been further problems.”

Casino De Cuba’s hours are now 10am to midnight on Monday and Tuesday, 10am to 1am on Wednesday and 10am to 2am Thursday to Sunday.

After 9pm, three registered door supervisors will be required to be on duty, with two at the exit of the premises from midnight.

Of the 54 conditions proposed by GMP, 29 were added to the licence, with those disregarded by the panel deemed to have been in duplication or not required.

The venue’s cut-off for its use of outside speakers has also been brought forward from midnight to 11pm.

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