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Mini-riots, mass brawls, and drunken violence threaten Conwy club’s future

23 Mar 2022 4 minute read
Conwy County Council sub-licensing committee will discuss the future of Conwy Comrades Club.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

A private members club could lose its licence after residents complained about “mini riots” and mass drunken brawls involving 50 to 60 people.

Members of Conwy County Council’s licensing sub-committee will meet today decide what action to take against Conwy Comrades Sports and Social Club.

There have been numerous and repeated complaints about violence and loud music at the Church Street venue. One incident, included in a report to the committee, reportedly took place on Christmas Eve and saw people “stamped on and knocked unconscious” in the car park.

Sanctions open to the committee include removing or altering the licence, removing the supervisor, suspending the licence certificate for a period of up to three months, or imposing a set of specific conditions. The club says it’s working hard to remedy the issues and a new secretary has been appointed.

The club has already received two abatement notices from Conwy County Council and appealed twice, only to withdraw the appeal on both occasions, promising to work with the council before resident complaints started again.

It’s also alleged that patrons set up a makeshift beer garden in the car park without a licence. Senior environmental health officer Lianne Martin who authored the damning report said the police had been called a number of times.

She wrote: “This premise and clubs blatant disregard for the local residents has, to date, continued; in fact even on Christmas Eve 2021 complaints were received with the complainants describing the events as a mini-riot with not only the clearly audible loud music but 50 to 60 of the patrons fighting within the car park, people being stamped on and being knocked unconscious together with the usual swearing and shouting at such a level the police were summoned via 999.

“One complainant has described how their young daughter was physically shaking on Christmas Eve after what she had witnessed from her bedroom window on what should have been a special night. This is quite simply unacceptable. Residents local to the club should be able to relax and have the quiet enjoyment of their property.

“They should be able to open their windows and sit in their gardens. They should not be concerned about what they and their children are witnessing such as the rowdy, anti-social behaviour and fighting.

“They and their children should not be hearing foul and abusive language at their property, nor should they be able to hear not just music within their properties but music so loud the lyrics are clearly audible.”

‘Very happy’

Conwy Comrades secretary Gareth Williams joined the club on a volunteer basis six weeks ago to tackle the issues and says meetings with the council and police have been positive. “Every one of the key bullet points (recommendations) mentioned in the council report to remedy the problems we have put in place and more.”

He said: “We have an improved dispersal policy and a much-improved noise management plan. Given what she (the council officer) experienced in the past, she said it was a breath of fresh air.

“We are 100% a community and social club, and we want to be here serving the whole community, all the demographics. Whether that is bingo, events, quiz nights, or if people want to use the facility for their night-time groups, we want to be a community club that everyone can be part of.”

He added: “We can’t change what has been said. All we can do is work along the lines of the recommendations put forward. They (the police and council) are largely very happy. The meeting was very, very positive.”

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