A NIGHTCLUB in Dursley is facing reduced opening hours or closure as the local authority calls for a review of its licence following complaints about noise and crime.
As a result of grievances from nearby residents about noise, fighting and other anti-social problems, Dursley Town Council (DTC) has called for another look at Capone’s licence to open so late.
The club on Long Street can stay open until 5am on Friday and Saturday nights, the latest of any venue in the Stroud district.
DTC backed up its decision by highlighting a number of incidents involving fighting, drink driving and assaults on the police from Gazette reports in recent months.
In its report, the council highlighted that all the incidents happened after 2am.
It added that neighbours were unable to sell their property because of the proximity to the club.
SDC’s environmental health will now carry out an investigation to help decide whether to carry out a licence review of the premises.
DTC clerk Helen Bojaniwska said Stroud District Council (SDC) had been dealing with noise complaints, but had not yet done any formal monitoring.
“The police licensing officer is able to provide data, but is concerned there may not be enough evidence from the crime and disorder perspective,” she said.
“Capone’s is a valued facility for many residents and contributes to the local economy. There is likely to be local resistance to any move close it down completely.”
Capone’s co-owner Stavros Antonio, 43, told the Gazette he believed the problems were not caused by the nightclub, but by national drinking trends since the 24-hour licensing laws came into effect in 2005.
He said because pubs were staying open much later, and that people were buying cheap alcohol from supermarkets beforehand, the only option for nightclubs was to stay open even later when people were much more intoxicated.
“Until the scene changes nationally, this is the reality of the market we’re in,” he said.
“The supermarkets are making the most money but we have the most expenses. The end result of their drinking happens at the nightclub.”
Mr Antonio, who lives in Bristol, also pointed to a lack of police presence in the town during the early hours.
“We have been asking for it for a long time,” he said.
“They are called when something goes wrong, they are not there as a preventative measure.
“Residents pay council tax and businesses pay their rates so the council could be looking at getting the police to find a way to make a police presence.”
He added the business had brought a lot of trade to the area in the last two decades and was critical of DTC for not talking to him beforehand.
“They need to invest a little time and thought into the night time economy,” he said.
“They are trying to look at us and say that’s wrong, we are not wrong we provide a service which has been well used for the last 20 years.
“If they close Capone’s they have to go to Bristol, Gloucester or Stroud. Which is money out of Dursley.”
Mr Antonio, who bought Capone’s and the attached Old Bell Hotel in April 1994 alongside his brother Chambi Antonio Praki, said the two buildings were undergoing refurbishment and hoped to reopen the club as a cocktail and wine bar in 2015.
A SDC spokesman said they would take the most appropriate course of action, based on an assessment of any evidence gained.
A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said: “We have officers on duty 24 hours a day in Dursley, who do indeed patrol the night time economy.
“Additionally they have superb backup from a team of special constables who support their regular colleagues every weekend.”
See this week's Gazette comment on this story.