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Opening of Belfast's newest nightclub and bar delayed for council investigation

Licensing issues after public objections delay launch

By Ann W Schmidt

The opening of Belfast's newest nightclub and bar has been delayed after concerns were raised by members of the public.

The Marcus Ward & Foundry had been due to open its doors on Friday but that has now been put back because of difficulties obtaining a licence.

The premises on Bankmore Square was previously the home of the Stiff Kitten, formerly one of the city's most popular clubs.

The club has been rebranded as The Marcus Ward & Foundry and the new owners applied to Belfast City Council for an entertainment licence.

But the council will now have to investigate the complaints before it can make a final decision, delaying the expected opening.

The Belfast Telegraph attempted to contact the owners of The Marcus Ward & Foundry but no response was forthcoming.

But Foundry, the club side of the venue, announced on Friday afternoon that their opening night would be delayed. They posted on Facebook saying the problems were "beyond our control".

Foundry posted again on Monday saying the delay would take longer than expected.

"It comes down to a licensing issue. We'd hoped to have this resolved in time for an opening this weekend but now it looks like it's gonna take a little longer", the post said.

Hospitality Ulster's chief executive Colin Neill said such licences were complex, especially when the venue was in a residential area.

"It's up to the premises to engage and reassure people," he said. "It is only right that people have the right to object and raise concerns. It is about being a good neighbour."

AUX, the group that was set to kick off Foundry's opening and DJ every Friday night, posted a Facebook video apologising for not being able to play.

One of AUX's two DJs, Leigh McLaughlin, spoke in the video in front of Foundry.

"It's absolutely devastating," he said.

The Stiff Kitten first opened in 2005 and has hosted DJs such as Carl Cox, Calvin Harris, Mark Ronson and Two Door Cinema Club.

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