Nightclub set to open after death

FUNKTION Rooms nightclub, which was closed by authorities after the fatal attack on 19-year-old Ben Lund, is to be allowed to re-open but the council has imposed strict conditions.

The Pevensey Road club had its licence suspended immediately by Eastbourne Borough Council's licensing committee after Ben's death in July in the interest of public safety and to prevent serious crime.

This came after popular window cleaner Ben, of York Road, suffered bleeding around the brain after an assault in the basement of the nightclub, which police are treating as murder.

Many of Ben's close friends said they did not want to return to Funktion Rooms after the fatal incident and members of the RIP Ben Lund group on Facebook were pleased with the council's original decision to close the club.

Bryony ChisseIl wrote, "I think this is the right choice.

"Re-opening it would have caused a lot of anger and upset to close friends and family.

"I don't believe many would have wanted to step foot back in there anyway."

And Tricia Stewart added, "I hope it is not allowed to re-open, as a stand needs to be made."

However, a full review hearing took place at 6pm on Monday (August 10) and the council decided the club could re-open after the weekend.

A council spokesperson said, "The licensing sub committee considered evidence from Sussex Police, the Pevensey Road Neighbourhood Association and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service as well as the premises licence holder Mark Pinnock, of Madasco LLP.

"The sub committee heard evidence from Sussex Police regarding crime and disorder at the premises.

"Prior to the meeting, Sussex Police and the license holder were able to reach an agreement on very strict set of conditions that could be attached to the premises licence. These included the police having the power of veto over any future drinks promotions, additional door supervisors as well as much tighter policies for managing the premises.

"In reaching its decision, the sub committee agreed that the licence could be re-instated subject to the police's proposed conditions being added to the licence.

"Additionally, the chairman of the committee is to be given monthly updates as to how the Funktion Rooms is progressing and the licencee has been asked to attend a meeting in January, to review the situation.

"The sub committee also asked that the licence holder work closely with the local residents association, to help address problems with late night noise as well as crime and disorder."

Councillor Dan Purchese, chairman of the licensing committee, said, "The tragic events which led to the application by Sussex Police for an expedited review of the Funktion Room's premises licence are recognised, and our condolences are with the family and friends of Ben Lund.

"Having listened carefully to the representations made by all of the parties, my fellow councillors and I are satisfied that the addition of strict new conditions, including those approved by Sussex Police, are both appropriate and necessary in order to ensure that the council's licensing objectives are promoted.

"Our decision will ensure that the premises licence holder works with the council, police and others to ensure that required standards are met and will allow us to closely monitor the premises."