THE opening of a new restaurant and function suite set to transform the site of a former cinema in Burton has been thrown into doubt after police raised concerns about the potential for disorder at the venue.
It has also emerged that plans to include a nightclub at The Ritz, in Guild Street, have been scrapped following widespread opposition from police and people living in the area.
But senior officers in the town are still not satisfied the venue, which has breathed new life into the dormant site of the former Robins Cinema, would be able to run without the threat crime and disorder.
The Ritz, which will feature a restaurant and a function room, was originally planned to be up and running last year before running into various stumbling blocks.
Owners now hope to open next month but Staffordshire Police has said it will not support its request for a premises licence unless certain conditions are met.
Police chiefs are not prepared to allow the venue to remain open into the early hours of the morning, while there are also differing views about the amount of security staff needed.
Sergeant Tracey Carsley said the force was also seeking to ensure the building’s second floor, to be used to host functions, could not become a nightclub in the future.
She said: “Some of the concerns stem from the size of the room. We would suggest it lends itself to a nightclub. They might say it isn’t going to be a nightclub but that is not something we can take to the bank.
“We need to make sure there is a licence that is resilient enough. The other concern is that the current owners might not intend to turn it into a nightclub, but licences are portable, it could be sold on. There needs to be conditions to prevent that happening otherwise there could be serious trouble in the future.”
Manager Ranjit Sandhu said he was hopeful of reaching an agreement with the police and is confident The Ritz will be able to open in June as planned.
He said: “We are in the process of negotiating with the police. We have agreed that the upstairs will be closed by midnight.”