Brentwood club Sugar Hut withdraws 7am licence bid

The Sugar Hut will still reopen on November 30 following a £4million upgrade –  despite the withdrawal of an application to stay open until 7am.

Instead a fresh application is expected to be submitted on Monday after councillors refused a request to adjourn the hearing on Friday (November 15) to a different date.

Though accepting that any decision will not be made until after its launch night on November 30, the Ibiza-themed opening party is still going ahead under the previous licence, which permits it to stay open until 3.30am.

Essex Police had already raised a slew of concerns over crime and disorder, including problems over a lack of taxi drivers when the club closes, thereby posing a “significant disorder problem” as people struggle to get home.

They add that women in particular would be at risk from sexual predators due to the chance of becoming drunk due to longer drinking hours, and then while drunk may unwisely chance taking unlicensed taxi and private hire cars home.

However the licensing panel heard new evidence from Essex Police arrived late according to David Dadds, representing the High Street club.

Sugar Hut had wanted to respond in kind to some of those submissions but the licencing panel concluded those submissions, including video, were too late to be included in the bundle of evidence.

After a request for an adjournment to allow that evidence to be used in a later hearing was turned down, Sugar Hut decided to withdraw it altogether.

A spokesman for the club said: “The Sugar Hut currently is licensed to permit us to open till 3.30am and that fits in our current programming for the next few months.

“We are ready to open on November 30 and are looking forward to that.

“We have made considerable investment into the premises, our people and programming and are looking forward to our relaunch at the end of November.”

He added: “While disappointed not to have the application today, we will resubmit with the same documentation.

“We are equally disappointed that despite everyone, including the police, licensing and residents, not objecting to an adjournment to consider our response to the police late information, the councillors saw fit not to allow that time.

“This has created unnecessary delay and more paperwork.”

David Dadds, the solicitor representing the applicant, said: “The application is valid.

“It is right the applicant should be able to respond to the late representation by the police service and the application for an adjournment to allow us time to put in information to respond to the late information should have been allowed in my opinion.”

He said the reasons for the refusal to adjourn would be considered before deciding over whether to challenge the decision with a judicial review.

Last month the club announced it was closing for three months, for a “cosmetic facelift to make it one of the best music venues in the entire country”, following its sale by former owner Mick Norcross.

The new owners announced that people can expect “some of the world’s best dance music brands, special guests and amazing DJs and artists every week”.

The company has said it will be installing new, world-class sound and light systems and special guest DJs from the worlds of house, techno, garage, disco and hip hop.

Sugar Hut made its debut on TOWIE several years ago, and soon shot to fame after it regularly featured on the ITV reality show.

Mike Freeman, who lives opposite Sugar Hut in Hanover House, had been ready to object if the hearing had gone ahead.

He said: “The noise levels are increasing the drug taking is increasing, the violence is increasing.

“There is an edge to Brentwood that is uncomfortable. We live in the High Street, we accept there is going to be a degree of noise. That’s our choice but there is a limit.”

He added: “For me 7am is a step too far, that is going right until the morning. We need to sleep, we are professional people.

“We can put up with it to a point but that is too much. Brentwood is not Ibiza. It’s a middle class town.”



Mick Ferris

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