Plans to section off the Old Steine and Victoria Gardens over the Pride weekend could lead to revellers climbing the fountains at either end, police have said.
Brighton Pride Community Interest Company (CIC) has applied for two Brighton Pride Pleasure Gardens licences, which involve cordoning off the area and selling alcohol, with live performances, DJs and dancing from Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7.
Brighton Police commander Nev Kemp has written to the city council’s licensing panel to say while he doesn’t object to the granting of a special licence in principle, they are worried that no concrete plans are yet in place to stop people sneaking in, bringing in alcohol – and climbing the Victoria and Mazda fountains.
The licence application says: “Brighton Pride Pleasure Gardens will be an 18+ entertainment component for the Brighton Pride celebrations in the Old Steine and Victoria Gardens will be a food and entertainment component for the Brighton Pride celebrations.
“The Old Steine will be transformed into an entertainment experience comprising of a cabaret tent with some of the very best comedians, singers and entertainers from across the UK scene.
“Working with [Street Diner] we will create a Pride Food Market [in Victoria Gardens] selling food and soft drinks across the weekend.”
All of the Old Steine and Victoria Gardens will be fenced off, leaving the surrounding pavements and Old Steine cafe accessible to the public.
As well as the caberet tent, the Old Steine will have a performance tent, food stalls, bar and VIP area. Entrance would be free until 8pm.
The main Pride Box Office will be situation at the south end of the Victoria Gardens, with a stage to the north end and a small covered bar. This part of the gardens would be open to all ages except for Friday and Sunday evening, when it would be 18+ tickets only.
Ch Supt Nev Kemp said: “Pride brings tens of thousands of people into the city, and in terms of planning, resourcing and logistics is probably the biggest annual commitment in the city for the emergency services to ensure that all the individual components of the event join together successfully to provide a safe, successful and enjoyable event for all participants.
“It must also be stressed that the [Old Steine] licence will run on the Saturday night until 2am in the morning, only metres away from the St James’s Street Village Party, which will attract thousand of people to the area, and thus an exceptionally high standard of care and control will be required at this premises looking at the venue in its broader surroundings and the huge numbers of people who will be in the area.”
He went on to request that last entry be restricted to 11.30pm on the Saturday night, and no alcohol to be sold after midnight, and that conditions about the number and supervision of security staff, capacity, preventing the supply of alcohol to underage people, toilets, height of the fencing and stopping people bringing alcohol onto the site be attached.
He also requested confirmation of how the Victoria Fountain in the middle of the Old Steine and the Mazda Fountain in Victoria Gardens will be secured to prevent people climbing onto it.
He added that police are already in conversations with Brighton Pride CIC, which is being receptive to their concerns.
Both the Old Steine and Victoria Gardens applications have been objected to by resident Lee Cockshott, who lives off St James’s Street, and Alasdair from Bar Broadway in Steine Street has also objected to the Old Steine application.
The application will be heard by the licensing panel on Friday.
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