Club licence revoked over drunken violence

PUBLISHED: 16:13 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

The Caledon Club in London Colney

The Caledon Club in London Colney

A VILLAGE social club has been stripped of its licence following a number of drink-fuelled violent incidents outside the venue during private functions. Herts Police called for the action against the Caledon Social Club in London Colney because of concern

A VILLAGE social club has been stripped of its licence following a number of drink-fuelled violent incidents outside the venue during private functions.

Herts Police called for the action against the Caledon Social Club in London Colney because of concerns about under-age drinking, public safety and because it was found to have contravened membership and event licensing rules.

In the last two years a number of fights have occurred outside the members club which shares a building with the public library. The incidents followed youth and 18th-birthday parties where under-18s were found to have been drinking.

One incident involved two youths, aged 17 and 18, being arrested for public order offences and assaulting a police officer. On another occasion a fight broke out following a 15th-birthday party between 20 youths who caused nearly £1,500 worth of damage to four cars parked in the road.

It has been alleged that youngsters were served alcohol within the club but that was denied by the licensees who claimed all problems stemmed from the teenagers consuming liquor outside the venue or smuggling it in.

Police also found the club had no adequate security provisions for parties and was allowing the guests to provide their own doormen. In addition events were taking place without the legal requirement of a Temporary Events Licence.

An action plan was drawn up to address the concerns last September and the club was advised not to hold any birthday parties for under-25s. But the advice was not adhered to and police decided to press for the licence to be revoked. London Colney Parish Council, which leases the club to the volunteer-run Caledon Committee, supported the action because of "ongoing nuisance, poor management and lack of monitoring of activities in and around the club premises".

A St Albans council licensing sub-committee heard the case on Friday at which the club argued that the problems were due to lack of funds for an adequate door entry system and CCTV, the implementation of which had been supported by 150 people in a petition.

Club chairman, David Barrett, said the staff repeatedly picked up cans and bottles which had not been purchased at the venue from outside the premises and in the toilets.

He said there had been numerous incidents involving youths hanging around outside and drinking in the toilets which were shared with the library and were therefore not located in the club itself.

Committee members maintained that, aside from the private parties, the club was normally a very family-orientated and safe environment, making it an asset to the community.

But Herts Police licensing officer Pc John Cooper, accompanied by St Albans community sergeant Debbie O'Malley and London Colney PCSO Debbie Daniels, demanded that the club should be shut down because of the continual breaches of its licence.

After deliberating for more than two hours, the licensing sub-committee, chaired by Cllr Jack Pia, said they had decided to revoke the club's certificate for a number of reasons based on the evidence they had heard.

The current licence holders have 21 days in which to appeal against the decision.

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