A LEICESTER bar at the centre of concerns about crime, disorder and noise problems has had its licence suspended after failing to overturn new licensing conditions which had been put in place to protect the public.
The owners of Mamba Cafe and Bar, in Leicester’s Market Street, had appealed against the decision by Leicester City Council in April 2022, which imposed restrictions on its opening hours, sales of alcohol and the number of people allowed to use an outdoor vaping and smoking area.
The restrictions had come about after Leicestershire Police called on the council to review Mamba’s licence following a string of complaints about the venue.
Magistrates last week upheld the city council’s original decision – in part because the venue’s operators Lava Club Ltd had made no attempt to tackle the problems which led to the conditions being imposed.
They also suspended the venue’s licence for two months and extended the conditions to be in place when it reopens – everyone entering will have to show identification and Security Industry Authority (SIA) door staff will have to be in place wearing hi-vis jackets, body cameras and a visible SIA badge.
Lava Club Ltd were also told to pay the council’s costs of almost £22,000.
Magistrates heard how the incidents of crime and disorder at Mamba had continued since the April 2022 licensing sub-committee hearing. Police evidence included catalogue of violent incidents linked directly or indirectly to the club premises, taking place inside, outside and in the smoking area, which were on occasions caused by the aggression of the venue’s door staff.
Officers from the city council’s licensing and enforcement teams also painstakingly compiled evidence based on extensive monitoring of the venue and presenting witness statements in court.
Local businesses include the nearby Gresham Aparthotel had also reported numerous concerns over disorder and noise linked to the club.
Magistrates heard that while the number of incidents of linked to the club had declined, their severity and seriousness had not, and the city council’s action against the club had been proportionate in trying to prevent crime and disorder, protect public safety and preventing public nuisance.
Dismissing Lava Club Ltd’s appeal, magistrates said: “There are many issues of public disorder and criminality still attributable to the Mamba premises.
“Most, if not virtually all of the violence and disorder is serious alcohol-related violence, in a location which receives continual heavy footfall, given the variety of other hostelries in this location.
“Other businesses in the vicinity do not have such a high level of criminal disorder associated with them, when compared to the Mamba club.
“Mamba premises have on certain occasions reported certain matters to the police, thus complying with licensing objectives, but we found that the management, anticipation and response to violent disorder associated with these premises has been extremely poor, and at times virtually ineffective; this was clearly exemplified by the recordings which we viewed today.”
When the venue is allowed to reopen, licensing conditions will restrict its opening hours to 4am on Fridays to Sundays, with alcohol sales ending at 3.30am. On Thursday nights, the venue will be able to remain open until 5am with drinks served until 4.30am.
A maximum of 10 people will be allowed to use the smoking/vaping area outside. The venue’s designated premises supervisor has also been removed.
Leicester deputy city mayor responsible for regulatory services, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, added: “I am very pleased to see that the hard work of our licensing team, enforcement officers and colleagues from the police has made an impact in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour associated with this club.
“It is encouraging to see that the magistrates have listened to the concerns raised by ourselves, police and neighbouring businesses in deciding to dismiss this appeal.”
PC Jeff Pritchard, from Leicestershire Police’s city centre licensing unit, said: “There has been a long history of crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour both inside and immediately outside the premises. We have raised our concerns with the management of the premises on numerous occasions without any success. We are pleased with the outcome of this hearing.
“We will continue to work with the local authority and courts to address concerns about how licensed premises are operated and the measures in place to protect people. These rules and regulations are in place for a reason and we will act on concerns.”