A LICENSEE spoke of his delight after councillors relaxed restrictions on his nightclub.
Dominic Pinnock was slapped with a court order forcing him to stop serving at Bar Amour at 11pm – up to three hours earlier than normal.
This followed a fight at the Zetland Street venue earlier this month.
But yesterday Kirklees Council’s Licensing Panel decided to ease the restriction, allowing the club to keep serving until 1am on Saturdays.
Mr Pinnock said: “I’m extremely pleased. I intend to continue working with the police and licensing to make Bar Amour an example of best practice.”
Police were called to a disturbance at Bar Amour just after midnight on November 10.
Speaking at yesterday’s Licensing Panel meeting, Pc Ashley Maynard described the scene.
He said: “There were tables upturned, broken furniture and a very strong smell of cannabis. It looked as though there had been quite a lot of people involved in a fight.
“The door staff were not in control of the situation and one of them had a head injury. The atmosphere was hostile and anti-police.”
One person was arrested for carrying a chair leg as a suspected weapon.
But Pc Maynard said reports of there being a gun at the scene were probably false.
He said: “As we were driving the suspect to Dewsbury Police Station he said that someone at the club had a gun but it was a throwaway comment.”
Pc Maynard also refuted a statement from another witness that Bar Amour resembled a Middle East war zone. He said: “I wouldn’t compare it to Beirut.”
After arriving at the scene, Sgt Jonathan Dunkerley decided to close the bar for the night to stop further violence.
Four days later Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court ordered the bar to stop serving at 11pm each night.
In 2007 there have been 17 crimes reported at the bar, eight of them violent.
But Mr Pinnock told the panel that other clubs had witnessed more serious violence than Bar Amour.
He said: “We’re the first place in Huddersfield town centre to have this closure order put on us. I know of worse incidents in other clubs involving mass brawls and knives but no action seems to have been taken.”
And Mr Pinnock suggested that racism could be a factor.
He said: “We’re not the worst bar in town yet we’re being singled out. Is it because we’re seen as a black bar?”
The three-member Licensing Panel then delivered its ruling.
Bar Amour will be closed until December 6 while Mr Pinnock implements a ten-point plan including a new CCTV system and a brighter interior.
From then until January 31 the bar will be allowed to serve until 11pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, midnight on Wednesdays to Fridays, 1am on Saturdays and 11.30pm on Sundays.
If there are no further problems, Bar Amour will be allowed to go back to its original licensing hours: Midnight on Mondays and Tuesdays, 1am Wednesdays to Fridays, 2am on Saturdays and 12.30am on Sundays.