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Cirque refused conversion licence

05 October 2005

One of London's most famous nightclubs is to be closed down because it poses a serious threat to public safety.

The West End's Cirque at the Hippodrome has been refused a conversion licence after Metropolitan Police said that if the club continued operating, violent crime levels would soar and eventually result in death.

To prevent this Westminster Council rejected Cirque's licence renewal application effectively forcing the club to shut at the end of November.

Peter Large, deputy director of legal services at Westminster Council, said: "The Metropolitan Police made clear to the committee their concerns that, if Cirque at the Hippodrome was granted a conversion licence, fatalities could occur at the premises."

But Cirque's director Steve Bowen refuted the allegations made by the police saying that the majority of the alleged violent crimes occur outside the club's premises and were often unrelated.

He added: "Yesterday's decision by Westminster Council not to convert the liquor licence of Cirque is an unlawful and disproportionate mis-use of the new licensing legislation. We have instructed our lawyers to take all such steps that are necessary to protect out position, including submitting an appeal and/or application to the High Court."

A spokeswoman for Cirque said the club was positive that the case will be resolved before the expiry of the club's current licence at the end of November.

By Kerstin Kuhn

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