A SOUTH Tyneside nightclub insists revellers will see in 2014 safely after revealing it will stay open until 9am on New Year’s Day.
It’s the first time bosses at Dusk, in Mile End Road, South Shields, have decided to keep the venue open so late – with celebrations previously ending at 7am.
Club bosses hope the extended hours – which will be the longest the borough has ever seen – will encourage revellers to party in South Shields, instead of travelling to Newcastle and Sunderland, and help boost the economy.
The news has prompted concerns that it will only encourage excessive drinking, with health watchdog Balance saying the decision “beggars belief”.
But bosses have insisted the celebrations will be safe, and say they will have trained first-aiders on site at the 1,100-capacity club.
Chris Joyce, operations manager for Dusk’s owners, Moorgate Bars, said: “We wanted to give people the option to have somewhere to stay out until late in Shields.
“So with this incentive it’s hoped that clubbers, who may have gone elsewhere may be tempted to stay, with the longer hours.
“We’ve stayed open until 7am in the past, and there’s been a fair few people still there, so we’re sure there will be some left at 9am, too.”
It’s not the first time Dusk has raised eyebrows with its events.
In May, fears were sparked when it became part of ‘The Night Out Your Mother Warned You About’, which saw MTV’s Dirty Sanchez stuntmen Matthew Pritchard and Lee Dainton take to the stage.
Dusk staff say they will remain in contact with police throughout the night, and that there is no reason for any trouble.
Alex Guiseley, head of marketing, said: “Offering an enjoyable night for all customers is one of our top priorities.
“We believe we have put together a fantastic package which includes an all-night pass into Dusk and complimentary champagne entry.
“Obviously, the safety and wellbeing of our customers is paramount. We have first-aiders and security on scene all night, as well as a strong relationship with local police.”
The club, which supports and promotes drinkaware.co.uk and is a member of the local Pubwatch group, is able to extend its opening hours due to a clause in its licence which states it can trade for longer during New Year’s Eve.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “It beggars belief that a nightclub would want to serve alcohol through the night and into the morning, beyond breakfast.
“It’s time that we stopped treating alcohol like any other product.
“It’s a legal drug which is causing increasing harm across the North East. We have the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions, and almost half of violent crime is alcohol-related.
“Increasing the availability of alcohol, which we know drives consumption, is only going to increase the levels of harm we see.
“It also isn’t just the health and safety of people that’s affected. Instances like this are tying up our resources, including the police, paramedics and A&E staff. It needs to stop.
“Unfortunately, local authorities across the North East are finding it difficult to use the Licensing Act to restrict availability and reduce harm. This example shows that the Act, in its current form, is not fit for purpose, and stricter measures are needed to reduce the availability of alcohol. Only then will we reduce the impact it has on individuals, our frontline services and the local community.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “The licence for Dusk allows the premises to stay open longer over the New Year period.
“This permission was introduced by the Government for publicans and club owners during the turn of the Millennium, and still remains on some current licences.”
Wristbands for the event, which include champagne entry, cost £10, and are available from Dusk, Life of Riley and The Mile, all in Mile End Road, plus Hel.Razors in Prince Edward Road, Harton Nook.