Licence let-off for landmark city nightclub

Review: 53 Degrees, in Fylde Road, has escaped losing its licence
Review: 53 Degrees, in Fylde Road, has escaped losing its licence
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One of Preston’s biggest music venues has escaped losing its licence at a special review meeting.

Police called on Preston City Council to look into 53 Degrees in Fylde Road, after 15 mobile phones worth £5,000 were stolen from revellers at a Lost Prophets gig in November.

The incident was the latest in a catalogue of crimes at the University of Central Lancashire Students’ Union venue, including drug use in the premises, assaults and underage drinking.

Licensing officer Sgt John Lovick said: “There comes a point where police work with people and ask what is going wrong.”

The licensing committee, chaired by Coun Phil Crowe, took 30 minutes to decide that the venue should keep its licence, but with modifications, following suggestions from bosses of the venue.

The changes include employing extra door supervisors at a ratio of 1:100 for club nights and 1:75 for live music events, having a drug and anti-theft policy and extra training for staff.

Solicitor Tim Shields, representing the Students’ Union, argued that it was “absolutely vital” that under 18s continue to be able to attend live music events, otherwise 53 Degrees would not be able to compete with other large venues.

The request was accepted, on the condition that over 18s wear a wristband and underage guests use a sectioned-off dancefloor.

Coun Crowe told club bosses: “It’s a good venue, please keep working with the police.”

Peter Shilton-Godwin, chief executive of the Students’ Union, said: “Nobody welcomes a licence review, and we were quite surprised it’s come to this.

“But we’re very pleased to be working with the police to ensure that everyone at 53 Degrees has a good time, safely. Lots of the measures are already in place.”

Sgt Lovick said: “We worked very hard with 53 Degrees to put forward mutually agreeable conditions which we considered will significantly reduce incidences of crime and disorder at the venue.”