Showdown talks for Showroom

The Showroom
The Showroom

CRISIS talks are underway over the future of a popular town centre nightspot after police raised concerns about a catalogue of violent incidents.

Cleveland Police has lost patience with The Showroom, in Hartlepool’s Victoria Road, over the rising number of incidents over the past 12-months and concerns about CCTV and door supervisors.

Officers have submitted an application – which includes a dossier highlighting 24 separate incidents – to Hartlepool Borough Council for a review of its premises licence.

The dossier includes assaults on men and women inside the venue, revellers being glassed and people being punched and head-butted.

Councillors sitting on the council’s licensing act sub-committee are due to meet next Wednesday to discuss the bar’s future.

But it is understood the meeting could be adjourned to give bosses, who have produced an action plan, time to alleviate problems.

If the review does go ahead, then the council has a range of options including revoking the licence.

The Showroom opened in September, 2010 and officers said the venue did not cause any real concerns to start with.

But by August, 2011 officers became concerned about violent incidents, poor quality CCTV and insufficient door supervisors to cover a two-floor building and met with the premises licences holders.

A council report shows they agreed to a course of action, which included them updating police of any further incidents. But officers say the situation did not improve and again raised concerns about the lack of communication.

A report to Wednesday’s meeting said: “Cleveland Police has requested a review of the premises licence on the grounds that despite attempts by the police to work with the licence holder to reduce the number of incidents associated with the premises, there has, in fact, been an increase in the number of incidents.”

It added: “In particular Cleveland Police has the following concerns in relation to these premises: the number of violent incidents associated with the premises, the quality of the CCTV system, access to the premises via the beer garden, insufficient door supervisors.”

If the review does take place then councillors could either take no action, modify the conditions on the licence, exclude a licensable activity from the licence, suspend the licence or revoke it all together.

The current premises licence allows for a range of activities including indoor sporting events, live music, recorded music and the supply of alcohol between 10am and 4am Monday to Sunday, and late night refreshment between 11pm and 4am seven days a week.

The current premises licence holder for the venue is 1st Leisure Limited and the designated premises supervisor is named as Craig Wilkinson.

Mr Wilkinson was not available for comment ahead of the meeting, despite attempts by the Mail.

The council’s licensing act sub-committee is due to meet at 1.30pm on Wednesday, August 22, at the Civic Centre in Victoria Road.