Have your say on a late licence for Synergy Centre in West St, Brighton

Residents of Brighton and Hove have 26 days until Tuesday 16 February to express their views about the late licence application from the Synergy Centre in West Street.

The centre has met with some resistance from the Sussex Police licensing team who view the Synergy Centre as a live music venue. The Synergy Centre sees itself as a multimedia arts centre doing charitable work.

Synergy Centre director Steve Peake said: “While some elements of Synergy’s application look like a live music venue, other elements look like a poetry salon, or a dance studio, or a youth club, or a conference centre, or a homeless drop-in centre or a youth skills-raising facility, etc.

“The Synergy Centre is one of a kind. There is nowhere like it in the whole country and therefore we do not fit easily on to the matrix to which the police are so rigidly attached.”

The vision of the Synergy centre is to use creative, multimedia events at the weekends to subsidise work midweek with disadvantaged groups including the unemployed, homeless people, those with mental health problems and substance misuse issues.

Synergy Centre

In the strategy document Mr Peake writes: “Another key aim of the Synergy Centre is to act as a hub and incubator for emerging talent within Brighton’s creative and cultural industries.”

A licence is needed to sell alcohol at any time, to sell refreshments including soft and hot drinks after 11pm and to provide entertainment after 11pm.

Mr Peake argues that Brighton lacks a medium-sized live music venue which prevents many bands from visiting the city and boosting the economy.

The Synergy Centre is bigger than Concorde 2 and smaller than the Brighton Centre with a capacity of 800 to 1,000 people.

Sussex Police has concerns about another live music venue in West Street. They operate a policy of containment and are concerned about another late-night entertainment venue in the area which is in a “cumulative impact zone”. The previous licence was surrendered when the occupiers had to leave.

You can sign the online petition which has attracted more than 1,900 signatures in support of the Synergy Centre here, hosted by change.org. You can write to Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove Council Licensing Committee to express your views before Tuesday 16 February when the consultation closes.

First published in Brighton and Hove News on Saturday 23 January. Read the full article about the Synergy Centre here.