WORTHING Borough Council has put an end to one Worthing café’s diamond jubilee plans, after a mass brawl outside the premises sparked safety concerns.
At the licensing committee meeting on April 18, councillors voted to uphold Sussex Police’s objection to two temporary event notices applied for by Coast Café in Beach Parade, Worthing.
Stefan Sykes, the owner of Coast Café, applied for two temporary event notices in order to be able to sell alcohol and provide live entertainment until 1am between both June 2 and 3 and June 4 and 5.
However, Sussex Police objected to the notices due to the aftermath of Coast Café’s previous disco event on April 7, which had also continued until 1am the following morning.
A brawl of 10 to 15 people broke out in front of the café, leading to four people being arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and reports of two linked thefts.
At the meeting, Sergeant Simon Morgan said there were reports of a woman being kicked and punched repeatedly on the floor, while injuries sustained by victims caught up in the brawl included a fractured eye socket, broken teeth, broken nose and a swollen jaw.
Sgt Morgan said: “We are concerned Coast Café does not have the sufficient equipment, or measures, to control a late-night function. We do believe Coast Café functions very well during the daytime, and has been key to the rejuvenation of Splash Point, however, the area is also prone to street drinkers, and we believe this will also fuel the problem.”
Sgt Morgan added Sussex Police is due to meet with Mr Sykes to discuss ways to improve the control of future late-night events.
Mr Sykes said the first of the notices was for a private party of 30 people, and the second was for a screening of the Jubilee concert at the Victoria memorial in London, to be held in the enclosed sand court to the north of the café. The event, he said, would be for 230 people.
He said: “The fight was an extremely unfortunate event.
“That night I had a far younger clientele than usual, due to the type of event we were holding, and I believe that is what led to the altercations.
“It was the first time we have ever had any sort of trouble at our events, but lessons have been learned and we will never be holding that type of event at the café again. The two jubilee events will have far better crowd control, and I will be discussing with Sussex Police how to make any future event as safe as possible.”
The committee upheld the police’s objections on the grounds Coast Café did not have the appropriate equipment to deal with longer licensing hours.
Commenting on the decision, Mr Sykes said: “I am disappointed, but it is an understandable decision.
“It is a shame the meeting with Sussex Police could not come before the hearing, but that is the way it goes. We will still be holding daytime jubilee celebrations.”