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Council shuts down illegal nightclub

14 March 2008

Christchurch City Council enforcement officers have shut down an underage nightclub which had been operating illegally.

The Underground nightclub in Bath Street was closed  after the Council staff deemed it was an immediate danger to people’s safety and it had insanitary conditions.

Earlier this month, Council’s Fire engineering staff,  and representatives from the Police and Fire Service, inspected the nightclub.

They found the building did not have  the necessary building consents required to operate as a nightclub. They also  found there were no the fire sprinklers, exits, or lights required for a building operating as a nightclub. It also did not have adequate toilet facilities..

The Council invoked emergency powers under section 129 of the Building Act, which allows the Council to immediately close a building deemed to pose a danger.

On 7  March, enforcement team changed the locks to the building, padlocked the front gate and put up a sign ordering people not to assemble at the site. 

Gary Lennan, Inspections and Enforcement Manager, says the landlord had been co-operating with the council. The landlord terminated the nightclub operators’ lease and gave the tenant two weeks' notice.

The Police understood that  the operator intended to continue to operate the premises as a nightclub until the expiry of the lease so it was necessary for  Council to act immediately, says Mr Lennan.

Interfering with a businesses operation’s is not a move the Council takes lightly, he says. However in this case the operation posed a significant risk to the  nightclub’s patrons and to the neighbouring buildings,  so immediate action was needed.

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