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York nightclub to stay open until 6am

(Via York Press) A York nightclub will be able to stay open until 6am despite police pleas that their stretched resources cannot cope with longer drinking hours and the extra problems it could cause.

Police had warned that longer opening hours at Mansion nightclub on Micklegate would increase the likelihood of crime and antisocial behaviour, and increase pressure for officers to be in the city centre to deal with later revellers spilling out from the club onto the streets.

But yesterday, a panel of three councillors granted permission which will allow the club to open until 5am seven days a week, and 6am on race days.

The club's solicitor Richard Taylor argued that his clients were aiming to run a high-quality venue that would attract people to York to see big name acts, and would attract a different crowd willing to pay £10 to £13 entry.

Club owner Andrew Whitney said the decision meant York finally had a late-night venue to compete with Leeds and Manchester and lure top acts and stop the city's night-time economy losing out to those bigger centres.

Both Mr Whitney and Mr Taylor told the licensing panel that their club had been running late-night events under Temporary Event Notices for 18 months without any problems, and the solicitor accused the police of "scraping the barrel" with warnings about crime and disorder.

Nearby residents and Micklegate ward councillor Julie Gunnell all argued that, regardless of how well the club is run, staying open longer would make disturbances in the area worse and force people to tolerate more mess and noise on their doorsteps.

The city centre's Acting Inspector Andrew Godfrey and North Yorkshire Police's licensing officer Matthew Balmforth both said that letting drinkers spilling out on the street into the morning would only extend the difficult hours when officers have to be diverted into the city centre.

PC Balmforth added: "At a time of budget cuts, when every penny we spend is precious to us and our resources are very precious to us, anything that adds more pressure - we wouldn't seek."

Granting the application, the panel chairman Cllr Barbara Boyce said the police had not given enough compelling evidence against longer hours.

She added: "But this is not the end of it it. If there are any problems the legislation allows for the licence to be reviewed, and if there were problems I would expect that to happen."

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