Plush’s application to sell alcohol until 3.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as staying open until 4am, has been turned down by the council.
The council cited fears that it could lead to more crime and posed a risk to clubbers as well, who would be more likely to be victims of crime after leaving the club.
Plush had been hoping to bring the newly-relocated venue in line with its former licence at Park End Street.
The LGBTQ+ nightclub moved from their old venue on Park End street in January into the former Purple Turtle site off Cornmarket Street.
Despite Thames Valley Police saying that Plush’s record in terms of crime was ‘exemplary’, police persuaded the council not to allow the later closing times as it would have placed pressure on police in the city centre.
Plush is situated within Oxford City Council’s Special Saturation Policy area. This meant that for the application to succeed, Plush had to demonstrate that it would not add to the existing impact of licensed premises on alcohol-related disorder and antisocial behaviour in different parts of Oxford.
Police licensing officer Alex Bloomfield said: “We’re not solely talking about people getting drunk and getting into fights. We’re talking about people who, yes, might have consumed alcohol, but also the likely increase of them being victims of crime as Council rejects Plush’s application to stay open later Ana Gheorge well as being the perpetrators.”
In a statement, Thames Valley Police said: “We recognise that there is a wish within the public to be able to go out and enjoy the consumption of alcohol and regulated entertainment in a safe and pleasant environment.”
However, they added that Plush’s plans would be “likely to add issues in the night time economy”.
Thames Valley Police also stated: “the management team of Plush are…one of the most responsible operators”, and that “matters at the old site, as well as the current one have always been well managed and when incidents have occurred the venue has been exemplary in the way they have dealt with it”.
Plush stated that given the police’s praise, it is “all the more disappointing [that] the Thames Valley Police has decided to refuse an application which, rather than extending the hours that Plush is able to trade, simply aims to reinstate the hours that Plush has always traded, but at its new venue.”
Stuart Hayles, one of Plush’s directors, said: “On the basis we’ve been trading for nine years with the hours we’re asking for, without any incident, without affecting the Special Saturation Policy, we don’t believe there’s evidence to indicate we will suddenly have an impact.”
Plush can appeal against the decision, which Mr Lygo said had been reached by a majority verdict on the three-person panel. Currently, only The Varsity Club and Cirkus can sell alcohol until 3:30am on Fridays and Saturdays.