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New Brighton theatre wins licence

- December 12, 2011

A new theatre has been granted a licence in the centre of Brighton.

Sussex Police initially objected to a licence for The Theatre in The Lanes because of its location in North Street.

North Street is in what is known as the “cumulative impact area” where Brighton and Hove City Council grants new licences only in exceptional cases.

Peter Savill, the barrister representing Sussex Police, said that he was concerned that the basement venue had a capacity for 340 to 623.

The applicant Mark Brailsford, who runs the long-running comedy The Treason Show, said that he was asking for a capacity of just 250, reducing to 120 after main performances.

Mr Savill said: “The police are concerned lest at 2am they find 200 to 300 people pouring on to the street in the cumulative impact area.”

Mr Brailsford said that people tended to dissipate after shows but he wanted to offer jazz, food and drink for those who wanted to stay as part of his business model.

His theatre was not seeking money from the state or the council, he said. “To make it work we need to be able to sell food and drink and put on entertainment.”

He said that he hoped to create a home for writers and artists and a venue that offered “a civilised atmosphere of fine dining, nice wine and a good show”.

Mr Brailsford said that he understood the police’s concerns and he supported the aims of the cumulative impact area but he did not expect crowds of young drinkers.

He added: “In 11 years of producing The Treason Show there have been no arrests and there hasn’t been one incident of violence, drunkenness or disorder.

“There may have been the odd criminal joke.

“We won’t be contributing to public nuisance. We will be attracting a more mature demographic.

“Our theatre is consistent with the council’s licensing policy in the cumulative impact area of attracting a more diverse range of customers from different age groups.

“We intend to employ 15 people and we will be contributing half a million pounds to the local economy.”

After Mr Savill and Mr Brailsford discussed their points of difference, the council licensing panel granted the licence.

Panel chairman, Councillor Dee Simson, said: “The panel believes that this has the potential to be an exciting new venue for the city.”

Mr Brailsford said that he hoped to open the venue by the summer.

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