Police target troubled nightspot

Jason Ranford

Jason Ranford

First published in News
Last updated

THE Brunel Rooms licence is due to be reviewed after Wiltshire Police raised concerns about safety at the club.

The review is expected to go to the next licensing committee meeting, where the future of the club will be considered.

In October, club boss Jason Ranford was jailed for six months for two counts of fraud and two counts of common assault.

Last month, manager Nathan Hatter was arrested at Gatwick Airport on suspicion of theft.

Ranford has since returned to work at the Brunel Rooms, and Hatter has been bailed pending further inquiries.

Coun Michael Dickinson, chairman of the licencing committee, said the review should come to committee when they meet in February.

“I have had notification that Wiltshire Police will ask for a review of Brunel Rooms’ licence,” he said. “The committee is likely to meet next month.”

Licences may be brought in for review if they breach any objectives including the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, or the protection of children from harm.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said yesterday: “Wiltshire Police has applied to Swindon Council for a licence review of The Brunel Rooms nightclub, due to concerns regarding crime and associated disorder.

“Wiltshire Police has a duty of care to the public to make sure all entertainment venues are managed safely and in accordance with the law. The hearing is listed for February 12.”

Wiltshire Police has had concerns around the licence granted to the Brunel Rooms since July 2013, when they lodged a formal objection.

Their concerns included the potential spike in late night disorder in Havelock Square.

In her statement at the time Sian Kalynka, police licensing officer, said: “I first met with Helene Simpkins and Paula Harris on 26 April 2013. At that meeting it was clear the applicants had no experience of operating in licensed premises. It was further clear they had not considered the safety measures, policies and procedures that would have to be established.

“It is acknowledged that Helene Simpkins has since undergone a personal licence holder’s course but still has no operational experience in premises.

“There was confusion as to the roles and responsibilities of each of the directors. Wiltshire Police are concerned that the day to day management appears to be under the control of two relatively inexperienced people.

“Nathan Hatter, although experienced in a subordinate position, has never held a role as a general manager, and is unlikely to be supported adequately by his nominated deputy Jason Ranford, who has no previous experience or qualifications in such a vitally important role.

“It is a matter of public record that Jason Ranford has a number of convictions that make him unsuitable to work in such a position.”

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