A BAR operator in Swansea is spending £200,000 upgrading the venue but faces opposition from South Wales Police in its bid to renew the premises licence.
Bambu Ops Ltd, the owner of Bambu Beach Bar, Wind Street, said it wanted to provide more toilets, more seating and more comfort for customers.
It does not propose a change in the current operating hours but is in the process of altering the layout of the ground, first and second floors.
A Swansea Council licensing sub-committee heard that its capacity from a fire safety perspective would, as a result, increase from a maximum of 620 customers to 770.
Solicitor William Parry, representing Bambu Ops Ltd, said the capacity increase was not the reason for the alterations, and that no-one could know if more people would visit the bar after the work was completed.
South Wales Police opposed the application, saying it went against a special licensing policy for the Wind Street area and would have a negative impact on crime disorder, public safety and public nuisance.
In a report before the sub-committee, PC Jon Hancock said the application had not outlined whether there was an intention to increase the capacity.
Mr Parry said any suggestion that a revamped Bambu Beach Bar would by itself add to the numbers visiting Wind Street for a night out was “with respect, a nonsense”.
He added that coronavirus social distancing requirements would prevent the maximum capacity from being reached for the foreseeable future.
Mr Parry also said that two other bars in the area had closed, reducing customer capacity by 1,800.
He and his client were asked by members of the sub-committee about the proposed fixed and removable seating areas, how much capacity would remain for people standing up, how numbers on each of the three floors would be monitored, and how the altered layout might alleviate incidents of violence.
Addressing councillors, PC Hancock said it had become “blatantly clear” during the application process that there was the potential for an extra 150 customers, and that this was the figure the authorities had to work with.
He said he didn’t think the operators had explained the numbers adequately.
The special policy for Wind Street and surrounding area has a presumption against new or varied licenses unless operators can demonstrate they won’t add to the cumulative impact of one or more of the licensing objectives.
PC Hancock said Bambu Beach Bar was not a “problem venue” but that “it does experience issues”.
Referring to the upgrade, he said: “The operators will want to see a return on that investment.”
The licensing sub-committee retired to consider the evidence after advising Mr Parry and his client that they would be notified of a decision within five days.