Ocean Rooms closed after clubber dies

Posted On 15 Jan 2010 at 7:03 pm

The Ocean Rooms has been closed pending review at an emergency meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council two weeks after a clubber died following an attack there.

Brighton police asked councillors to take urgent action over the Morley Road club because of concerns about violent crime and lack of co-operation with the police.

This culminated in a fight on New Year’s Day in which Ricky Brown, 25, suffered serious headwounds which he later died of.

Chancey Cummings, 25, from Hove, was first charged with assault, and may now face charges of either manslaughter or murder.

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Councillor Lynda Hyde, who chaired the emergency meeting, said: “I’m pleased with the decision as public safety must be our top priority. We have serious concerns about the management of the club and its association with serious crime.”

The panel heard about the lack of co-operation with the police, in particular not reporting incidents of assault on the premises and of non-compliance with the licence conditions.

Councillor Hyde added: “The Ocean Rooms have shown a clear disregard for the licensing objectives of public safety; the protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder. The panel believes that the suspension of the licence is necessary in the interests of public safety and for the prevention of further crime and disorder.”

Superintendent Steve Whitton, from Brighton & Hove Division, said: “I am pleased with the decision of the licensing panel to take these interim steps in order prevent further crime and disorder at the venue, pending the determination of the full hearing later next month.”

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The licence will remain suspended until the full hearing is heard at Brighton Town Hall on Friday, February 5, where the licensing sub committee will hear relevant representations and decide on the future of the premises.

Chief Inspector Simon Nelson, also from Brighton & Hove, added: “We work closely with our council colleagues in offering clear direction and support to premises licence holders, and the majority manage these premises responsibly.

“This has contributed to the sustained decrease in violent crime in this city. There are occasions when our confidence is not maintained, and their ability to manage a safe venue is in serious doubt – if this is the case we will always act positively and bring these concerns to the attention of the licensing committee.”

The licence holders have a right of appeal against the decision.

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