Eastbourne murder nightclub’s reopening shelved

The new-look club's relaunch has had to be postponed
The new-look club's relaunch has had to be postponed

THE NIGHTCLUB where a teenager was murdered two years ago was due to open this weekend but has had to postpone its launch.

Nineteen-year-old Ben Lund was killed in the Funktion Rooms by Nicholas Sitko in the summer of 2009 and his 26-year-old killer is currently serving a prison sentence for murder.

The Pevensey Road club shut down after the murder and its attempt to reopen, with a capacity much-reduced by the council, failed.

Ben’s friends and family also held an vigil outside in protest at the planned reopening.

Back in February, new operator Michael Kill was given permission by Eastbourne Borough Council to open the club with a capacity of 560 people.

The club, named Tonic, was also given the green light to install a top floor smoking terrace for no more than 20 people at any one time. Stringent conditions were imposed by the council.

This week, club organisers sent messages out via Facebook inviting people to the opening nights of Tonic this Friday and Saturday, but they later posted a message on the social networking site to say the launch had been postponed.

The Facebook post read, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, Tonic nightclub will be unable to open as scheduled for September 30.

“We will be releasing the rescheduled opening date very shortly. Thank you for your support and patience.”

A spokesperson from the licensing department at Eastbourne Borough Council confirmed the management at Tonic were keen to open the club as soon as possible but there were ‘operational procedures’ which needed to be addressed.

The Herald understands the club hopes to reopen in the next few weeks.

Many of Ben’s friends and family have been against the nightclub re-opening.

Leigh McAllister, a friend who was with Ben on the night he died, recently posted on the Ben Lund RIP Facebook page.

She wrote, “This is just an idea so want to know what people think...as you know Funktion Rooms is opening as Tonic very soon. I am very angry at this and feel I want to do something!

“Now for starters, I think on the opening night we should go down there in mass for Ben just so people remember what happened and he will never be forgotten!”