A Norwich city councillor has suggested that ‘a nightclub zone’ should be developed on an out of town industrial estate to try and ease tensions on Prince of Wales Road.
City Member for Thorpe Hamlet, Ben Price, offered that such a move would improve the city’s night time economy, and help to relieve some of the tensions between residents and late-night businesses: “we could offer some of the types of activities you do on Prince of Wales Road in a space that’s away from residents, that could reduce the impact of anti-social behaviours”. This is an idea that has been welcomed by many of the residents of the Prince of Wales area.
However, the councillor also conceded that there were several hurdles to overcome in turning this theoretical project into a reality. As of yet, there is no specific site in mind for this industrial estate-esque space, and consequently, negotiations with police and ambulance services, as well as taxi drivers have struggled: policing such a large, out of town area, and providing sufficient travel services “would be a problem”.
Furthermore, the complete eradication of anti-social behaviours could not be guaranteed with a move of night time entertainment. Kevin Driver, Norwich cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety pointed out that, previously, there were nightclubs in three areas of Norwich – Tombland, Prince of Wales road and Anglia Square, all three of which suffered problems.
These comments come not long after the owner of Mercy Norwich’s largest night club, Toby Middelton, which is located on Prince of Wales Road, considered taking legal action against Norwich City Council due to the large costs the club had been forced to spend on noise reduction following complaints which have been running for seven years.
In 2008 the City Council put in planning apllication for an office block, adjacent to the club to be turned into housing, but insufficient steps had been taken to ensure that noise from the club would not desturb residents. Speaking to the EDP in July, Middleton claimed that he had been forced to spend £1m to cover legal costs and building works, commenting that “something has to change, or here’s a very high probability Mercy could close”.