By Joseph Longley
Plans for a controversial 2,000 capacity nightclub in Kingston have been turned down amid concerns it would not be policed properly.
The nightclub near Kingston station on Richmond Road, which would have been the third of its size in the town, had approximately 80 restrictions enforced on its licence before the application was eventually turned down.
Although the Kingston University Student Union (KUSU) has no official position on the number of clubs in Kingston, they did say: “It would be good to see the land used for a community project, especially one that could bring together our students and local residents, rather than a commercial ‘landmark’.”
Already people are speculating what the site could be if not a nightclub, with previous bidders and current interested parties looking at a number of uses including a church, a children’s indoor play park, an Asda and an ice rink.
June Hillier, Chairwoman of the Richmond Road Residents’ Association (RRRA), said: “People keep saying if it’s not a nightclub, what will it be, it can’t work. Of course it can, it can work as a children’s area, and it can work as a completely family friendly community area.”
“The police have acknowledged that they won’t be able to affectively police a venue outside the town centre. Also the street pastors who operate in the town centre will not be able to come out here,” said Mrs Hillier after the licensing hearing.
The RRRA have previously voiced fears that a club on Richmond Road would lead to the destruction of property, violence and noise on the nearby residential roads; also they have brought into question the character of the owner Franco Lumba and the licence applicants.
Lumba was arrested on suspicion of money laundering in June this year leading to his other Kingston club, Essence, being temporally shut down.
Malcolm Farquharson, one of the licence applicants, was sentenced to six months in prison for phone cloning, the transferring of identities between one mobile phone to another with the aim, for example, of only paying one bill for two phones, in 1993.
The other applicant Matthew Deith was formally warned after committing a criminal offence by breaching a condition attached to his personal management licence.
Mrs Hillier said: “We were astonished and very delighted to find the committee had refused the application.
We have won the battle but it is yet to be seen about the war as we are now waiting to see whether or not the applicants will appeal the decision.”
The applicants have until Friday to appeal, if not we can expect news on another plan for the site in the coming months.