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Wartime bunker wins licensing battle

PUBLISHED: 13:51 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 13:36 12 July 2010

A wartime radar bunker is scanning a new horizon as a music venue after winning a licensing battle.

Student David Mack wants to turn the buiulding into a novel and safe place where young people can enjoy live and recorded music.

A wartime radar bunker is scanning a new horizon as a music venue after winning a licensing battle.

Student David Mack wants to turn the buiulding into a novel and safe place where young people can enjoy live and recorded music.

But he had to fend off concerns from neighbours about noise and the behaviour of gig-goers visiting the former second world war radar unit at West Beckham, near Sheringham.

The 21-year-old music technology student still needs to get planning permission for the venue, already tagged the Bunker, and would like slightly later opening hours than he was granted.

But after his success he admitted he was pleased, adding: “It's a start.”

Mr Mack, whose family live next door the concrete bunker, applied for a 24-hour licence for alcohol, refreshments and entertainment, including DJs, live bands, and films.

His case was heard by a licensing panel at North Norfolk District Council, attended by a gaggle of local people airing their fears.

He told councillors: “There is nowhere for young people to go around here. There is a lot of

uproar about raving. This would be somewhere legal and supervised that would be safer; they won't be hanging around on the street corners of Cromer, Sheringham

and Holt.”

Up to 12 events could be held with temporary event permissions, and five already had been, with no complaints to or from the police, said licensing officer Tony Gent.

Bar and door staff would be trained to stop any under-age drinking and tackle drug issues. Buses bringing in youngsters would wait for 15 minutes in case any were turned away at the door, added Mr Mack.

Noise would be “no louder than in a club or hall” and would be controlled with insulation so it would not be a problem to surrounding homes.

Police said they had withdrawn an earlier concerns about staff training, and crime and disorder prevention measures.

Mr Mack said there could be one major event a week, but more likely one a month, with a few quieter functions in between - mostly for the over-18s but with 16-pluses at some, with identity cards needed

for admission and colour coded wrist bands to help staff.

Residents raised issues ranging from noise and hooliganism to whether roads could take

the buses.

Julia Dovey told the tribunal: “We do try to support local people, but wonder if this an appropriate activity in a very tranquil area.

“We thought earlier events were people just having private parties, but this is moving to a different level.”

Claims that villagers had been disturbed by youngsters drinking from cans and banging on windows were answered when Mr Mack said there was no event at the Bunker that weekend.

The panel granted the licence, but with conditions including a ban on any events on Monday or Tuesday, and restricting closing time to 1am on Friday and Saturday, and 11am the other nights.

The panel rejected another attempt by Anastasia's Club at New Street, Cromer, to get a 24-hour licence. It will have to keep closing at 2am after objections from residents and the police over public nuisance and anti social behaviour concerns.

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