A TOWN centre venue could be forced to close its doors after spending £50,000 just a few months ago if an application for a variation of its license isn’t approved on Monday - claiming the police have subjected the firm to a ‘witch hunt’.
The Sugar Club, based on Pitt Street, will be assessed next week on whether its application should be given the green light.
The premises is situated in the town centre and surrounded by a variety of local amenities including retail, residential and other licensed premises.
If the application is approved, amplified recorded music will be allowed to play indoors and outdoors from Monday to Wednesday at 11am to 5.30am, and from Thursday to Sunday at 11am to 6am.
They will also be allowed to supply alcohol at those times - and director Ashley Stockton has agreed for CCTV to be positioned upstairs and additional security will be hired.
Sound checks will also be in place and those on the door will ensure customers will leave the venue in a ‘socially acceptable manner’.
Following a 28-day consultation period, South Yorkshire Police objected to the plans on the grounds of the prevention of crime, disorder and public safety.
A report states: “A number of issues have arisen over the last few months, where breaches of the existing premise licence have been identified.
“Namely not adhering to conditions set out in their current premise licence, which include opening when the premise had CCTV issues, ID scanners not working correctly, and body cams not being worn by door staff.
“We have met a number of times with the applicant, along with other authorities, and have provided extensive advice to try to resolve the issues at the premise, unfortunately incidents continued, as a result of these issues, South Yorkshire Police have now submitted a review of the current premise licence.
“We therefore, have no confidence that the applicant will operate appropriately and in accordance with the licensing conditions listed on the premise licence within the new area proposed.”
However, Ashley feels the venue has been subject of a ‘witch hunt’ by the police, who he says have visited the site more than 100 times since January.
“For about 12 months the police have been randomly showing up and the venue originally seemed to have an underage problem - but that has now been put straight.
“The police have hounded the life out of us - it’s not all as it seems.
“The town centre is not thriving and from the pandemic to now it’s just not the same.
“The points the police have against the application are all technicalities - it’s all out of context.”
Ashley added that all of the firm’s summer takings were put back into the business in hopes of the application being approved and a subsequent uptake in customers.
But without the approval, Ashley fears the worst.
“It’s all out of control,” he added.
“If you stare at something for long enough then there’s going to be cracks.
“We’ve spent £50,000 from the summer takings.
“There’s no evidence in the last seven or eight months of any wrongdoing - it’s been a witch hunt.”
The meeting will take place on Monday at 2pm.