One of Preston’s most popular nightclubs has avoided losing its licence after overhauling its safety procedures and promising to invest £500,000 in a refurbishment of the venue.
Police requested a licensing review of Lava & Ignite, in Church Street, after a catalogue of incidents, including drunken violence and thefts, from September to November last year.
Reports included a doorman being glassed in the face, a man receiving a suspected broken nose and a pregnant woman being punched in the stomach.
But councillors, police and NHS bosses agreed to adjourn the hearing at Preston Town Hall until June 5, after the nightclub’s entertainment giant owners Luminar outlined bold plans.
Solicitor Jonathan Smith attended the meeting with Tony Marshall, operations director of Luminar, and Zane Woods, the manager of the club.
Mr Smith said Luminar had met with Licensing Sgt John Lovick of Preston Police and set in place an action plan, which included installing 13 new CCTV cameras and replacing all glasses at the club with hard plastic.
He said more doormen were being employed, with a fixed doorman at a ‘hotspot’ at the back of the club, and that covert staff acting as customers were keeping a lookout for people stealing mobile phones and handbags.
Mr Smith said free ‘bag drops’ were now on offer at its cloakroom and that a £500 reward was on offer to people providing information about thefts.
The refurbishment is expected to start in the first week of June.
He said: “It’s not just going to be a lick of paint here and there, it’s around about £500,000 being invested.”
He added that an application for a new licence would be made, “with all the information up-to-date”.
The club currently has a licence to open to 4.30am seven days a week and welcomes more than 160,000 visitors a year.
Mr Marshall said: “I’m appreciative of the way that John Lovick has dealt with this matter and the fact he has agreed to give us this opportunity to improve even further on our performance to date over the last three months.
“I think we’ve implemented quite a number of policies and other changes in the premises which have led to improvements.
“I think we can achieve an even better reduction and I’m confident we can achieve everything that is required of us.”
Speaking after the meeting, he told the Evening Post that a brief closure of the venue might be needed in order to carry out some of the works.
He said he hoped the refurbishment would be complete before the August Bank Holiday, in time for the return of students to the city.