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STRING OF OBJECTIONS: ‘Grave concerns’ over club plans

STRING OF OBJECTIONS: ‘Grave concerns’ over club plans

The former Pizza Express in Dean Street, Newcastle city centre, which could be turned into the Cad Club, Image: LDRS

City authorities warned they have “grave concerns” over plans for a “James Bond meets Playboy” members’ club in the heart of Newcastle.

Councillors are set to decide whether the empty former Pizza Express in Dean Street can be turned into the controversial Cad Club.

The plans, from the team behind nearby bar Bijoux, attracted a string of objections, amid claims that its “scantily clad” hostesses would be “sex objects”.

Bijoux Leisure Ltd’s Dan Miller told a Newcastle City Council hearing on Tuesday that those worries were “quite confusing”, saying that the “James Bond meets Playboy” idea referred to the club’s 1960s-style decor rather than anything “misogynistic”.

He has promised that staff will be given an allowance to buy their own clothes and that the dress would be “similar to what you would see on a night out – very glamorous and upmarket”.

Mr Miller said the “high end” Cad Club would be a place for “like minded” guests to sit and discuss business or politics and that its food menu would be “of a standard that Newcastle has not seen before”.

But Joan Flood, of the council’s community safety team, warned councillors on the licensing sub-committee that the club would be a “retrograde step from a family-friendly pizza restaurant”.

She added: “The possibility of scantily clad hostesses will only appeal to a very narrow and shrinking male demographic and will certainly not drive the economy longer term.”

Sgt Julie Cottiss, of Northumbria Police, added that she too had “grave concerns” about the prospect of a new club open until 3am each night in one of the busiest parts of Newcastle.

Jonathan Bryce, head of the city’s licensing authority, also warned that the Cad Club would have a “significantly greater impact” than Pizza Express did in an area with an “evident saturation” of bars and clubs at the gateway to the Quayside.

He added: “I don’t believe there is a bespoke trading style, I don’t believe that the conditions offered are for the betterment of the locality.”

Mr Miller said that he was “disappointed” by the reaction of the city’s authorities, but urged councillors to give the plans the go-ahead regardless, saying there had been “no interest” from any other restaurant in breathing new life into the closed pizza chain.

He added: “This is the most benign use you could put in there that would be commercially robust and sustainable. That is shown by the lack of interest from other operators in Newcastle.”

The council said it would issue a decision on whether or not the Cad Club is allowed to open within five working days.

 

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


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