WISBECH: Cinema plans given go-ahead by council, but with earlier closing times

PLANS to transform the former WI hall in Wisbech into a late-night cinema and wine bar were given the green light by Fenland District Council this week. The committee, however, said the Luxe Cinema in Alexandra Road should close earlier than the 3am reque

PLANS to transform the former WI hall in Wisbech into a late-night cinema and wine bar were given the green light by Fenland District Council this week.

The committee, however, said the Luxe Cinema in Alexandra Road should close earlier than the 3am requested by the applicant.

The hall, currently subject to renovation, had a licence allowing live music, dancing and entertainment until midnight prior to Wednesday's decision.

These rights would have continued in the hands of applicant Burleigh Ibbott, of Wisbech. But he also wanted to show films and serve late-night refreshments until 2.30am, with the doors closing at 3am.


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Councillors ruled, after hearing the protests of the town's police force and residents, the cinema could open until 1.30am between Sunday and Thursday, and until 2.30am Friday and Saturday.

Regulated entertainment and alcohol should be served between 10am-1am Sunday to Thursday, and 10am-2am Friday and Saturday.

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Police and residents were concerned before the meeting that plans indicated the formation of a nightclub.

Objections received by the licensing committee included concerns about possible crime and disorder, noise, public drinking, litter, rowdy behaviour and vandalism.

The licensing committee was also told that Mr Ibbott met with police before the meeting and agreed several changes to his application.

These included not allowing anyone into the premises after midnight, and door supervision for licensed activities after midnight. Drinks would also be served in toughened glasses or plastic vessels.

Wisbech inspector Robin Sissons told the committee: "All of the amendments have been agreed to ensure that the licensing objective, of the prevention of crime and disorder, is met and to facilitate the applicant in running a safe and profitable premise.

"The constabulary has been assured that the building's primary use is one of a cinema and there will be a maximum of 90 persons at any one time."

Insp Sissons also asked the committee to restrict the cinema to closing at 2am, with licensing activities ending at 1am.

A statement read out by the licensing committee at the meeting said: "We have given due consideration to what has been said by all interested parties and the applicant.

"We are aware of the hours granted to these premises under grandfather rights. We are also familiar with the licensing hours of other premises in the vicinity.

"Having considered all the conditions agreed with the police, particularly the exclusions relating to door staff and drinking vessels, we only have concerns with the opening hours.

"There is no evidence that the premises will be run other than in accordance with the business model of the applicant as a cinema.

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