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Protest at bid to reopen Sheffield nightclub

RIVAL Sheffield nightclub owners are objecting to the planned reopening of the Roxy as a live music venue - claiming more licensed premises will lead to an increase in crime and disorder.

Academy Music Group Ltd wants to turn the giant white-tiled Arundel Gate building, which closed as a nightclub in the 1990s and was last used as a church, into a major venue attracting top performers.

The company, the national operator of live music venues and clubs including the Shepherd's Bush Empire and the Carling Academy Brixton, says its venues have "attained both national and international acclaim".

"The usual high standard of management will also operate at this venue," their application adds.

Academy is applying for permission to open until 4am on weekdays and 6am at weekends, with a programme of "concerts and music-based club events" plus comedy and cabaret nights.

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But Brook Leisure, which operates Embrace, formerly Kingdom - the city's biggest nightclub - and Crystal Bar, on Carver Street, is unhappy about the plans.

Solicitors for the firm have sent a letter to Sheffield Council's licensing department, stating: "Any increase in capacity of licensed premises in the area would exacerbate the existing levels of crime and disorder and be detrimental to public order."

They added the plan would also be "detrimental to the promotion of the licensing objective of the prevention of public nuisance".

But police have not made similar objections. They are recommending tight conditions, which include forcing the venue to serve drinks only in plastic beakers.

Academy is also being asked to fit CCTV cameras, use registered door staff, operate a radio communications system allowing bouncers and management to be in direct contact with each other, other premises and the city centre CCTV control room, be a member of landlords' organisation Sheffield Licence Watch, and ask under 21s for proof of age.

The company is also asked to control noise breakout and follow recommendations from the fire service and environmental health officers.

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