Snooker club closes its doors
THE game is up for punters at a controversial snooker club as it locked up for the last time. Kingsley Snooker Club in Baldock had conditions imposed on its licence by police after complaints from residents and a series of crimes at the premises. But the
THE game is up for punters at a controversial snooker club as it locked up for the last time.
Kingsley Snooker Club in Baldock had conditions imposed on its licence by police after complaints from residents and a series of crimes at the premises.
But the club failed to appeal within the set time period, choosing to shut up shop instead.
And the possibility of a residential development is now in the pipeline.
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The closure of Kingsley's follows in the wake of the George and Dragon pub which closed last year.
Owner Don Thomas said: "They put conditions on the George and Dragon which made it unviable and I think they're planning to do the same with another business locally. They're going to close us all down!"
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Mr Thomas added: "The problem with appealing is that I don't think anyone's going to go against what the police require. And if we lose we would have to finance it.
"We couldn't comply with the conditions put on us by the licensing authority.
"Some of the conditions are completely impossible.
"And as the licensee I'm liable for a £20,000 fine, a six months prison sentence, or both!
"One of the conditions is there's only two people allowed in the car park at one time.
"And we have to have two special door supervisors on the door which cost £150 a night, each.
"We don't make £300 a day every day, yet we would have to have two of them.
"They also want the top gate closed at 9pm, but the only exit is a single car exit onto Hitchin Street."
The club, part of the 18,000 sq ft grade II listed building, has been a prominent feature of the town since 1985 but has also split the town in opinion.
The majority of residents and organisations based near to the club petitioned against it.
The Maltings Spa, home of Suburban Swingers UK, is based within the same building.
As it has a separate licence it will continue to run.
But it is uncertain whether the future of the spa will be secure in the face of change.
Mr Thomas will be auctioning off snooker tables and kitchen equipment on April 26 at the snooker club with the help of Peacocks of Bedford.
Geoff Camp, neighbourhood inspector for Letchworth, Baldock and Royston, said: "I am saddened by the loss of a useful facility for the people of Baldock.
"However, the truth of the matter is that the snooker club was the cause of a great deal of nuisance, crime and disorder.
"It is precisely for these reasons that the police requested a review of the premises licence, which resulted in the strict yet necessary conditions that appear to have led to the owner's decision to close.
"Most of all I am pleased for neighbouring residents, businesses and Knights Templar School, all of which had borne the brunt of the behaviour.
"I would like to thank them for their support during this process.