The PSNI has raised concerns about the location of a new Ibiza-style nightclub near a sectarian flashpoint.
El Divino plans to open one of Belfast’s biggest nightclubs next month in premises formerly known as The Edge bar and restaurant close to the Albertbridge Road and Short Strand interface in east Belfast.
And, in a letter submitted to Belfast City Council, the police claim bringing 1,000 people to the club would “provide an additional public safety risk element” in an already “volatile” area.
Writing on behalf of Inspector Robert Murdie, PSNI licensing officer Richard Couser said: “The area in which the venue is situated is between two sectarian interface areas — ie areas in which there have been intensive public order issues related to sectarian tensions between communities.”
The Edge has operated without incident in the area for almost 10 years, but the police submission said the “proposed operation and style” of the new venue is significantly different.
The club’s owners said they are investing £1m, creating 60 jobs.
However, almost 70 residents living at St John's Wharf close to the new nightclub have also raised concerns about noise levels and increased anti-social behaviour.
Block management director Alex Fleck said: “The residents are greatly concerned about the security implications that such a large number of people would create at closing time, with large numbers of people spilling onto the streets.”
The club's owners point out that club nights have been running at The Edge for the last seven years and their application to the council is to amend the existing entertainment licence of the site.
They added: “Management are liaising with residents and the PSNI to allay any concerns they may have.”
The matter is due to be discussed by the licensing committee at Belfast City Council next week.
El Divino is the world renowned Ibiza favourite of house music’s celebrity fans such as Kylie Minogue, Paris Hilton, and Penelope Cruz.
Club operators hope to be up and running in Belfast ahead of the MTV European Music Awards on November 6.
The club will feature four different rooms, including an exclusive Heineken ‘Green Room’ over three floors.
Owners are investing in a £1m facelift and say up to 60 new jobs will be created. It will open four nights a week.