Bexley nightclub's request to stay open later refused as police claim they break up 5 fights a night

Arcadia Lounge, as shown on Broadway in Bexleyheath, Bexley, London, UK
-Credit: (Image: Joe Coughlan)


Plans for a nightclub to extend its opening hours to beyond 3am on weekends have been refused by Bexley Council, after police claimed nine crimes had been reported at the venue in the past six months. Arcadia Lounge on Broadway high street in Bexleyheath has had its application to stay open later from Thursday to Sunday refused amid police concerns it will increase disorder in the area.

The change would have seen the bar being allowed to stay open an hour later on weekends until 3.30am. The application also requested for the bar to close at 2am on Thursdays, while it currently shuts half an hour earlier. Both police and the council's licensing representative felt that the extended hours would cause customers of the nightclub to stay out longer than they already do, causing more nuisance for residents and potentially more crime and disorder.

The topic was discussed at a licensing meeting for Bexley Council on May 15. Police Constable Kate Ellen said that Arcadia generated the most crime reports and engagement from police out of all late night venues on Broadway, with nine crime reports filed for the venue in the past six months.

Police Sergeant Steven Watson said at the meeting: "Crime analysis has shown that the area is the violence hotspot for Bexley borough, and those offences correspond with the peak hours of the late night licensed premises of that area."

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Broadway high street, Bexleyheath, Bexley, London, UK
The Broadway high street sits in Bexleyheath in Bexley borough -Credit:Joe Coughlan

Police Sergeant David Catlow added: "It's quite regular to split up five, six or sometimes seven fights a night as you go into the early hours of the morning… It's generally along the Broadway but there are instances directly outside Arcadia."

Sergeant Warson said current resourcing constraints meant he felt the Met may be unable to staff the Broadway area if Arcadia was allowed to close later. Licensing consultant Guy Hicks, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said at the meeting that a shortage of resources was not a reason to refuse the application which the sub-committee reportedly agreed with when coming to its decision.

Mr Hicks said at the meeting: "This application would actually remove quite a large portion of those people from actually being on the street at 2am and 2.30am. By the time [Arcadia] closes, everywhere else is well and truly closed. Therefore, cumulative impacts shouldn't apply in this case because they are the only premises open at that time if this licence is granted."

The members of the sub-committee did not feel the extended hours would help to disperse patrons from the venue when it closed. Mr Hicks said the venue also offered to introduce a last entry time of 2am if the licence were to be granted, but the sub-committee felt this may encourage people to deliberately go to Arcadia from other venues in order to stay out later.

Mr Hicks also said he disputed the Met's evidence that Arcadia had the greatest number of crime reports generated in the Broadway night time economy. However, the sub-committee said in its decision notice, published this week, that it trusted the police officers knew the problems associated with the area very well.

Despite refusing the request for extended hours, the sub-committee allowed the bar to remove conditions from its licence that had been added during the Covid pandemic, such as restrictions to its outdoor seating area. Arcadia Lounge has the right to appeal the decision of the sub-committee by sending an appeal to Bexley Magistrates' Court within 21 days.

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