Police urge Brentwood Council to reject Sugar Hut application

There will be an increase in crime and disorder in Brentwood if the Sugar Hut is allowed to open as late as 7am, according to police.

Essex Police say the application is of significant concern to them and an application should only be granted with revised opening hours.

A statement to the Brentwood Borough Council licensing panel, which is deciding on the future of the venue on Friday, added: “Should this application in its current form succeed, it would encourage other venues to seek to remain open later and the impact of this should not be discounted, it is a likely occurrence and one which would undoubtedly lead to an increase in alcohol-related crime and disorder and public nuisance, as well as a reduction in public safety through the Brentwood town centre area.”

The new owner of the Brentwood night spot, made world-famous by the reality TV series The Only Way Is Essex, has asked to open until 7am as part of plans to bring an Ibiza-style club to Brentwood High Street.

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.

Describing the facelift spend as a ‘vast amount of money to turn the Sugar Hut into a 24/7 operation’, Essex Police say most taxi drivers would have gone home 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.

Since the closure of the Sugar Hut there has been little or no reported crime, disorder or public nuisance.

The club’s ‘Next Generation’ reopening party on November 30 is now sold out, but a licence is yet to be secured from Brentwood Borough Council.

The new owners have 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.

People travelled from all over the country to visit the nightclub and it was not just bars and restaurants that benefited from its popularity – hotels and beauty salons saw an uplift too.

But lately it has seen a drop in the number of revellers.

The new club has asked for permission to sell alcohol between 8pm and 2am Monday to Wednesday and between 8pm and 7am Thursday to Sunday.

The club says it has a list of events starting with its first event residency this December.

The Sugar Hut has a long history as part of the TV show, as well as being arguably the most famous venue in the Essex nightlife scene.

People travelled down from as far as Scotland on a regular basis for nights out at the club, with several TOWIE stars often seen partying at the venue.

On Friday Brentwood Council’s licensing committee will decide whether to approve, approve with modifications or refuse the application.

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter