A social club has been allowed to stay open after bosses reached a deal with police.
The Leather Cap Sports and Social Club, in Browning Street, Easington Colliery, faced being shut down today following allegations of ‘criminal conduct’ on its premises.
Durham Constabulary had originally recommended its permission to operate be revoked.
But before the panel meeting, officers had agreed to drop this suggestion in return for the club adopting beefed up incident reporting and security procedures.
Durham County Council’s Statutory Licensing Committee accepted this and ruled the business should be allowed to keep serving.
This has included surrendering its premises licence, which allows it to sell alcohol to any member of the public.
However, it has been allowed to keep its club premises certificate, which permits it to continue serving its 185 members and their guests.
The review was prompted by an application from IT consultant John Smith, whose mother lived opposite the club.
Among his allegations to the committee were that he and his mother had faced a campaign of intimidation after drawing attention to alleged incidents such as horses being tied up near the club, loud music being played outside licenced hours and an incident in March which has seen a man arrested for GBH.
He told the panel: “Generally, I don’t go outside because I’m afraid to be killed, so is my mother, we’re afraid to be murdered.”
He was assured by a solicitor present acting for Durham Constabulary that the force took the problems seriously and was investigating.
But he was also told it was ‘unclear at present’ whether any suspected criminal activity was linked to the club directly.
Charles Holland, the lawyer acting for the club, accused Mr Smith of pursuing a ‘vendetta’.
“There’s really nothing you [Mr Smith] won’t say if you think it’s going to assist you on your mission to exterminate these premises,” he said.
After retiring to consider their decision, a panel of three councillors agreed the proposed agreement between the club and police should address issues.
Coun Linda Marshall said: “The club premises certificate will be left with conditions as discussed, there will be conditions for CCTV, log incidents, reporting conditions to the police and signs on deterring horses.
“We note the issue with noise and Mr Smith should have recourse to the environment department.”
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service