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Fears over social club plans

PUBLISHED: 16:30 25 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:01 07 July 2010

A vacant social club that was the scene of a sit-in protest two years ago has prompted new objections over its proposed new opening hours.

The former Thetford Labour Club has been boarded up since August 2006 when its then tenants and drinkers were evicted by the local constituency party after a long-running legal dispute.

A vacant social club that was the scene of a sit-in protest two years ago has prompted new objections over its proposed new opening hours.

The former Thetford Labour Club has been boarded up since August 2006 when its then tenants and drinkers were evicted by the local constituency party after a long-running legal dispute.

But plans to reopen the building in Bury Road have received dozens of complaints from residents over late night noise and public nuisance concerns.

New landlord Jamie McGill, who also runs the Green Dragon pub in Thetford, has submitted an application to Breckland Council to serve alcohol and provide entertainment at the Thetford Sports and Social Club from 9am to 2am and to stay open until 2.30am seven days a week.

But the proposals have prompted a petition signed by more than 50 neighbours, who fear that the licensing extension will create increased noise, antisocial and parking problems in the heart of the residential area.

The application, which will be discussed by a Breckland's licensing committee on April 3, has prompted concerns from police and environmental health officers over security and late night noise levels.

The building was the focus of a sit-in by protesters in 2006 as bailiffs acting on behalf of the South West Norfolk Constituency Labour Party attempted to evict the former social club committee and supporters, whose lease had expired two years earlier.

In a report to councillors, Mr McGill, who signed a new lease in January, said the venue would remain a members' only social club and entrance would be controlled by an electronic system controlled from behind the bar.

Peter Smith, chairman of South West Norfolk CLP, added: “We have every faith that Jamie will provide Thetford with a well-run social club which will be a real boost for the town.”

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