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City club nights to continue despite ‘public safety’ concerns

01 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Vibez nightclub in Cambrian Road, Newport. Credit: LDRS

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter

Club nights at two city centre venues can continue after their owner navigated two licence reviews.

Newport City Council has finished reviewing two of Jack Bannister’s premises licences for Newport city centre nightlife hotspots Vibez and The Greyhound.

Councillors on the licensing sub-committee met on 31 October after police flagged concerns about several reported incidents at Vibez, as well as a “distinct” lack of searches of customers upon entry, and monitoring of the venue’s outside area.

Continued breaches

Gwent Police alleged “continued breaches and disregard to the premises licence and actions plans” and had urged the committee to review the conditions of the club’s licence.

But at the meeting, a much more conciliatory tone was struck between those involved, following what the council’s licensing manager Alastair Dearling called “a significant amount of mediation”.

The committee heard Mr Bannister had agreed to a series of further police recommendations, including to tighten security policies and to shorten the opening hours at Vibez.

The club owner had already taken other steps, including the hiring of a new team of door staff and a new designated premises supervisor for the club, the committee heard.

Mr Dearling said the mediation had been “constructive and very positive” and the police and Mr Bannister had “ultimately… come to an agreement”.

Luke Elford, a lawyer for Mr Bannister, told the committee “everything is [moving] in the right direction” following the mediation, and hoped councillors would “consider this a new chapter” for Vibez.

PC James Cheshire, meanwhile, said he was “quite confident we will see an improvement in how this premises is run”.

The committee took a little under 15 minutes to deliberate, before chairman Allan Morris said he and his colleagues were “happy to agree with the proposals” for the new licence conditions.

Following the meeting, Mr Elford said he and Mr Bannister were “pleased with today’s outcome.”

“As recognised by the chair of the licensing sub-committee, the parties have worked really well together to achieve the right outcome,” he added. “That doesn’t always happen on these types of applications.

“As to Vibez, Jack looks forward to the club getting back to what it does best – being Newport’s number-one night spot.”

Licence review

A licence review for The Greyhound was completed last week in a behind-closed-doors meeting of the same council committee.

The premises had been closed following an alleged sexual assault which reportedly happened there on 9 September.

That interim order was rescinded following the meeting, where Mr Bannister, the police and the council’s licensing team agreed a new set of conditions for the premises licence.

Gwent Police continue to investigate the alleged attack and have urged anyone with information to contact the force, quoting incident reference 2300305747.

Two people who were arrested in connection with the police investigation – a 28-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman, both from Newport – remain on police bail.

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