The former Club 195 in Epping is set to reopen under a new name but has been told it cannot stay open past 1.00am.

Under new management and now called Playhouse and Essex Roof Garden, club operators had been hoping to open as soon as Government coronavirus rules allowed.

With worries over a second wave increasing and a second lockdown looking more likely, it is unlikely the club will reopen until next year.

The club in Cottis Lane, which lost its licence in January 2019 following a spate of violent incidents, was given permission by Epping Forest Council to open until 1.00am in July of last year.

Its licence was revoked after a 21-year-old was stabbed inside the facility on New Year’s Day of 2019.

Eight serious incidents had taken place at, or in the vicinity of, the venue since in the 12 months prior - including two brawls.

Earlier this month club operators CK Entertainments applied to extend the licence to allow the club to remain open until 3.00am on Fridays and Saturdays – despite having yet to reopen since securing the initial licence last year.

However, following objections from Essex Police, district and town councillors and residents, the club’s bid for an extended licence was rejected.

In a letter to the council, Essex Police’s licensing officer Peter Jones said: “Essex Police maintain they position that since the licence of Club 195 was revoked, crime, disorder, and public nuisance has decreased in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Mr Jones stated it was his believe ‘on the balance of probabilities’ crime would increase if the extended licence was granted.

James Hoffeiner, a licensing consultant speaking on behalf of the club, outlined several measures the club had worked on to increase customer safety and reduce public nuisance since new management had taken over.

He said: “We want to make sure when customers do come to the club that they have a good time. That they are entertained and that they spend money in the area. However, we also want to make sure that local residents are not affected by this entertainment and when people leave its very important to us that they leave peacefully, quietly and quickly.

“We will make sure that there are sufficient door supervisors spread up and down the high street making sure people are quiet.”

Additional ‘welfare officers’ will also be on hand at the end of a night to help customers who are struggling ordering a taxi or have lost their friends.

To increase venue safety, metal detector arches have been installed along with a shared ID scanning system which would flag individuals who had caused trouble in different clubs across Britain.

Mr Hoffeiner added: “Anyone entering will go through much the same process as you would boarding an aeroplane. You will walk through metal detectors, you will be physically searched or patted down should it go off... Then your ID will be scanned, which will be retained on the system.”

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