A NIGHTCLUB threatened with the suspension of its licence amid concerns about crime and disorder at the venue has escaped serious sanctions.

A review into the future of Inside Out, in Beaumont Street, Darlington, brought by Durham Police, found that there were some issues to be resolved at the club, but that to close the venue or reduce its hours would be ‘draconian’.

Instead, Darlington Borough Council’s licensing committee made changes to the conditions of its licence, including an increase in the number of door staff on duty, the introduction of the Challenge 25 scheme and changes to the way refusals of entry and sale of alcohol are logged by staff.

Durham Police brought the review of Inside Out due to concern about the rising number of incidents logged by officers in the last 18 months, in particular the number of assaults.

The force had called for a reduction of the club’s licensed hours from 4am to 2.30am and the suspension of the licence for six weeks to resolve the issues and prevent incidents taking place late into the night.

Joan Smith, representing Durham Police, said: “Something is clearly going wrong. Officers had told the operators what needed to be done and incidents keep happening.

“It’s evident that there have been issues with door staff and in obtaining CCTV.”

Charles Holland, for the club owner Easteye Limited, said the police case “did not stack up” and that the request for reduction in hours for the club would “in reality kill the business stone dead”.

He said: “It’s less than satisfactory that serious allegations are being bandied about without any foundation at all.

“We are told incidents are rising, with a peak in August, but then we discover that the incidents on the documents include those that are positive, such as stopping violent incidents.”

Barry Ladhar, the club owner, told the hearing: “In my opinion, the club is working very well. The incidents have come down.

“I’m not denying that there have been problems but I don’t think there are problems there now and that’s through effective teams working together.”

Announcing the findings, committee chairman Councillor Brian Jones said: “Some of the evidence has raised serious concerns and some action must be taken in order to resolve those concerns.

“We do not find it necessary to revoke or suspend the licence or amend the hours – those would be draconian steps.”