Police say they 'do not support' gay club Plush Lounge's application for new

By

Nathan Briant

Local Democracy Reporter

Show caption

A GAY club’s proposed move further down an Oxford street would ‘only exacerbate’ antisocial behaviour and police say they cannot support it.

Plush Lounge is currently based at the Jam Factory at 27 Park End Street. But it wants to move into 10 Park End Street, according to city council documents.

It wants to sell alcohol until 3.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and close half an hour later. Police said that would make it the ‘latest operating licensed premises’ in Oxford.

The venue is praised as ‘exemplary’ for its previous handling of antisocial behaviour by police.

But in a report, Thames Valley Police say crime and demand on officers’ time would only be expected to increase and the force does not support the change.

It says ‘issues that fall outside the venue’s direct control’ are of most concern.

They continue: “We are of a view that this new application will only increase the footfall of the public and indeed retain this footfall directly into this specific area. Many of these individuals will be under the influence of alcohol, whether that is from preloading prior to going out or subsequently throughout their evening up until closing time.

“It is our view that the result of this increase retention directly into the area will only further add to the cumulative effect and see increases in demand on policing for this area.”

Plush Lounge’s management want to close at 2.30am on Mondays and Tuesdays, at 3.30am on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

It would run ‘regulated entertainment’ every day and finish that half an hour before the venue closes.

All timings would be extended by two hours on bank holidays and on the day before them if permission is granted for the move.

It would also stay open until 5.30am on New Year’s Day.

If it moves, Plush Lounge would occupy a unit formerly used by Efes Meze Bar between 2011 and 2015.

The application seems to contradict a message sent out by the Plush Lounge on its Facebook page in November.

It said it was moving out of its current premises in Park End Street on New Year’s Eve because they will be renovated.

But it said it was moving into premises below the Oxford Union in Frewin Court, just off Cornmarket Street. That was used by the Purple Turtle club until last month.

Plush Lounge was contacted over which venue it planned to use or whether it could use both.

The city council’s licensing committee will be asked to decide whether the Park End Street move should be allowed on December 17.