Mantra nightclub must close earlier

Mantra nightclub must close earlier

Francis Batt

Mantra nightclub must close earlier

Beleaguered neighbours living next to a popular nightclub have won a major victory in the fight to rein in its opening hours.

A licensing panel of councillors decided yesterday to impose a 1am curfew on the sale of alcohol at Mantra nightclub in Bridgewater Way, Windsor, on Friday and Saturday nights. This ended the previous 3am limit allowed under the Licensing Act.

Sally Shanly spoke on behalf of elderly residents of Castleview House behind Mantra. She said: "Residents have to contend with loud and abusive shouting, screaming, vandalism and the threat of potential violence."

She said drunken customers hung around the open ended pedestrian arch for at least half an hour after leaving the club. She said: "People urinating, copulating and sitting down to eat food on residents' doorsteps are examples of what goes on."

The club's 3am closing has been controversial as it breaches a condition insisted on by the Royal Borough's planning councillors years ago, requiring it to close at 1am.

Legally the earlier imposed closing time overrides the later time subsequently allowed by magistrates under the Licensing Act.

The situation changed dramatically when the club's previous owner, Big Red Monkey, went bust and the former manager Michael Garner - nicknamed Mickey Mantra - took over as owner. He discovered the license had expired, forcing him to reapply from scratch.

He told licensing councillors at yesterday's hearing: "We could not continue trading if we had to close at 1am. Most pubs are open till 1am now and most of our business is done after that."

But Inspector Mark Millward, speaking for the police, said: "Most of the public nuisance that emanates from Mantra happens after 1am, after the closing time imposed by planners."

Councillors agreed after more than an hour of private discussion to impose a 1am weekend closing time, bringing the licensing restriction into line with the existing planning one.

Because the licence granted yesterday was a new one Mantra will have to abide by the 1am curfew at once, even if Mr Garner appeals to magistrates to overturn the decision, as he has successfully in the past.

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