Nightclub to reopen amid controversy

Tonic nightclub
Tonic nightclub

THE NIGHTCLUB where teenager Ben Lund was murdered two years ago will reopen tonight, Monday (October 31) under a new name.

Tonic on Pevensey Road, formerly known as the Funktion Rooms, had to postpone its opening at the end of September because licensing requirements had not been met.

However, it is now advertising a student night on its Facebook page and the authorities are working with the nightclub management to make sure its opening night goes ahead this week.

Management of Tonic have had to agree stringent conditions to re-open the club.

Back in February, the man who intends to operate the new club, Michael Kill, said he needed a capacity of 560 people for commercial reasons.

Eastbourne Borough Council also gave the club the green light to install a top floor smoking terrace for no more than 20 people at any one time.

At February’s meeting, the council imposed 38 licence conditions, which include giving police the power to veto drinks promotions.

Police inspector Viv Johnson attended the meeting and said, “This is one we will be watching very closely and should Mr Kill put a foot wrong I will bring him back before this meeting.”

The stringent conditions come after the 19-year-old Ben Lund was killed in the Funktion Rooms by Nicholas Sitko in the summer of 2009. Ben Lund’s 26-year-old killer is currently serving a prison sentence for murder.

The Pevensey Road club shut down after the murder and, after one failed attempt to reopen, has been closed ever since.

Ben’s friends and family also held an vigil outside in protest at the planned reopening back in 2009 and it is thought there may be a protest outside the club tonight.

Leigh McAllister, a friend who was with Ben on the night he died, had been planning a protest for the opening at the end of September.

Writing on a Facebook page, she indicated she would like to stage a protest to mark tonight’s opening.