11 December 2005

11 December 2005

Cops versus club

COPS are against extended drinking hours at a top nightclub after being called to a string of violent incidents.

The Venue in New Cross Road, New Cross, has asked to be open until 6am every day, with alcohol being sold until 5am.

The entertainment it offers includes tribute acts to Madonna, Queen, Elvis, Abba and other performers.

The Venue, which has a capacity of more than 1,000, is able to sell alcohol until 2am every night except Sunday, when it stops at 12.30am. It is open until 6am on Saturdays and 4am on other nights.

Chief Inspector Wayne Nash, of Lewisham police, objected to the extended hours on the grounds of preventing crime and disorder and public nuisance.

Police records show they received 271 calls connected with The Venue between January 2004 and August 2005, 238 of which were between midnight and 6am.

The majority of the incidents officers attended were in the categories of "disturbance in public place" and "violence against person".

A sample of the calls received by police has been submitted to Lewisham council's licensing committee which is due to decide on the licence on Thursday.

In its submission to the committee, The Venue said it had a CCTV system and a search policy at the door to prevent weapons being taken inside.

It said no one who appeared to be drunk or on drugs was allowed to enter, there were security staff inside and outside the premises, and up to 25 bouncers were there when the club was at its busiest.

It added that notices were also displayed at the premises encouraging patrons to leave quietly.

Owner Dan Dowling said: "The Venue is a family-run business and has been established for 17 years.

"Many thousands of people pass through our doors every year and this success is due to our customers feeling safe and secure while they are enjoying their night out.

"We have a full complement of fully qualified and trained door supervisors both inside and outside the club.

"We are very proud of our achievements in The Venue. We feel we have always had a good working relationship with the police and we are ready and willing to address any concerns they may have now."

Some of the 271 calls to the Venue since January 2004 November 7, 2004. 1.09am: Male throwing bottle at informant [person phoning the police]. 1.12am: A female has been assaulted. A disturbance heard in the background.

November 28, 2004. 12.02am: Fight at The Venue, bouncers beating people up. One male hurt. London Ambulance Service (LAS) called.

December 4, 2004. 2.32am: Female requesting police to The Venue stating that there is a fight. 2.48am: Two males fighting.

Christmas Day, 2004. 3.01am: Fight now - staff of The Venue cannot control it. Female heard screaming - five people fighting.

March 6, 2005. 3.30am: Information from Lewisham council's CCTV that there is a fight taking place out-side The Venue between youths and security guards. March 19, 2005. 3.09am: Fight at location - two females detained by security.

March 20, 2005. 2.07am: Crying female requests police assistance at location stating there is a fight taking place.

March 15, 2005. 2.26am: One of the bouncers has been assaulted by suspects running towards Clifton Rise. One male unconscious and taken to Lewisham Hospital.

April 24, 2005. 3.12am: Male assaulted suffering a broken nose. LAS attended. One person arrested for actual bodily harm.

June 5, 2005. 1.15am: Caller states that he has been assaulted by a bouncer at location hitting him on the head. Police on scene state that no one's been injured just two very drunk males being silly.

July 2, 2005. 3.44am: Large fight outside The Venue involving multiple persons. Nine police units originally assigned the call.

Lower Sydenham Bridge makes Top Five

Two of the most bashed railway bridges in the UK are located less than a mile apart, according to Network Rail.
The Barrowby Road bridge in Grantham, Lincolnshire has been hit 32 times in the past year and nearby Springfield Road bridge has had 16 collisions.

A Road Safety Bill proposes a £5,000 fine along with a six-point endorsement for drivers who hit railway bridges.

Ben Herbert of Network Rail said "bridge bashing" causes about £10m in damages every year.

Five railway bridges have been hit more than 100 times since 1995, including the Barrowby bridge and others in Swindon, Litchfield, Lower Sydenham in South London and Ely. Continued...

More than £8m for specialist services

COUNCIL chiefs stand accused of wasting taxpayers' money by spending more than £8m in a year on outside experts.

Opposition councillors say Lewisham Council's spending on consultants is "excessive" and calls into question the ability of its own staff.

And one furious resident who has waged a three-year campaign against council waste says the "profligate" local authority should be "capped".

In the financial year 2004/5, the council spent £8.3m on recruiting expertise, including financial and legal advice, from outside the town hall.

The council has used consultants to advise on many of its major schemes, including the £150m Building Schools for the Future programme and the Downham Lifestyles centre.

Downham ward councillor Mark Morris claims wrangling over consultants' fees was to blame for delays in building the new leisure centre.

Referring to the total amount spent, he said: "There is always the need to bring in expert advice but £8m in a year seems excessive to me.

"Spending this amount of money on outside advice begs questions about whether Lewisham is recruiting enough high-quality staff."

Figures released in a written answer at last month's full council meeting reveal the council has spent a further £3.9m to date in this financial year.

Retired company director Alan Copson has written to the Audit Commission five times since 2002, accusing the council of wasting too much money.

Mr Copson, of Brangbourne Road, Catford, said: "It is scandalous to spend this much on consultants and an outrageous waste of taxpayers' money. This profligate council must be capped. It is the only way to cut this appalling waste."

Lewisham Council says it saves money by employing experts on a contract basis rather than full-time.

A spokesman said: "While council employees have expertise in a number of areas, we cannot be specialists in every area we provide services.

"As such we buy in specialist advice as and when required."

Boroughs ready for the cold spell

COUNCIL chiefs have revealed plans to make sure they are not caught cold by the big freeze.

Forecasters believe this winter could be one of the coldest in recent history, with pre-Christmas snow and below freezing temperatures predicted for the area.

Now both Lewisham and Greenwich councils are taking major action, to ensure motorists and residents do not suffer during the cold spell.

Lewisham says it will spend around £80,000 on gritting roads.

It has earmarked all A and B roads, bus routes and roads with steep hills, to be gritted when forecasts predict icy weather and snow showers.

Greenwich Council has published a winter service plan, which contains details of its measures.

It has in store 1,400 tonnes of road salt and six gritter lorries, which will be used to grit the 400km of carriageway it is responsible for.

The council also says it will concentrate on gritting footpaths and busy areas like shopping centres.


obifromsouthlondon said...

whoa! so what? Reckon Venue gonna get the extension?

I'm off to holidays for a few days to Gran Canaria. seems I'm gonna return right in the middle of the cold snap.

(moe) said...

Enjoy your holiday!