LICENSING chiefs have ordered Stratford’s only nightclub to shut for six weeks.
Issues over violence, drugs and noise prompted Stratford District Council to review the licence of Shakespeare Street Cocktail Bar & Night Club off Birmingham Road.
And councillors have now suspended the venue’s license while steps were taken to ensure the venue complied with conditions of the licence, including keeping doors shut.
Its late night opening hours will also be reduced from 2am to 1am from Thursday to Saturday.
Complaints from neighbouring residents claimed they were victims of ‘disrespectful and ‘erratic’ management.
One wrote: “It is miserable and disheartening. We have had to modify our lifestyles to cope with his business. Basically we can expect to endure disturbed weekends and no sleep till the small hours.”
Owner Earl Withers previously told the Observer, he had already replaced the door team following violence concerns and regularly checked toilets for drug use.
Following the licensing committee’s decision he said: “We are disappointed with the outcome but we will look to making a decision on the best way forward.”
The adjacent One Elm pub, on the corner of Guild Street, also underwent a review following noise and anti-social behaviour complaints.
Nearby residents raised concerns the single door attendant was unable to control ‘revellers akin to a football crowd’.
One said: “People congregate out the front at the entrance to Shakespeare Street shouting with noise akin to a football crowd funnelled up Shakespeare Street, waking residents who who find it impossible to sleep on a Friday or Saturday night. The lack of dispersal plan means revellers often wander up Shakespeare Street shouting and screaming and making our lives unbearable.”
The license panel ruled live music could not be played after 10pm, rather than the previous 11pm curfew, from Sunday to Wednesday, and after 11pm on the other days instead of the previous 1am.
Pub manager Ben Reed reassured, although the pub only had live music one Saturday a month until 11pm, the team was taking steps to address the issues.
He told the Observer: “We were sorry to be called to the licensing committee as we take our obligations to the community seriously. We apologised if anything we had done had upset any of our neighbours. Many of our neighbours use us as we are a well-loved neighbourhood pub and we have taken steps quickly to address the issues raised at the review.
“We will work with the head of licensing at Stratford Town Council to agree a noise management and dispersal policy. We are also installing CCTV in all the public areas of the pub.
“We only have live music once a month on a Saturday and this will end at 11pm as it has always done. We do not have live music outside these days. We have never been a night club. We do enjoy listening to great tunes from bands occasionally. We will continue to remind our guests to be considerate of our neighbours, especially when they are leaving the pub.”
He welcomed anyone with further concerns to contact the venue.
It is understood the conditions will take effect in two weeks.