A RESTAURANT and bar which was branded as the “epicentre of violence” in Clacton’s night-time economy has had its licence suspended.

Kassaba Turkish Grill and Meze, in Marine Parade East, faced a licence review after police were called to the venue at least nine times after Covid-19 restrictions were eased in July.

Alleged incidents included brawls between large groups, involving bottles and furniture being used as weapons, and reports of underage drinking.

Concerns were also raised over food hygiene and a lack of social distancing.

Baktash Roohrawan, director of the restaurant, told the Gazette it is not to blame for trouble in the street, that security guards were brought in after discussions with the council and that there had been no underage drinking.

He claimed the allegations stemmed from “jealousy and racial discrimination” from rivals.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Troublespot - Kassaba in Marine Parade East, Clacton

A hearing was held by Tendring Council’s licensing sub-committee last Wednesday after Essex Police submitted an application for the licence to be reviewed.

The force called for the licence, which allows the sale of alcohol, dancing, music and late-night refreshment, to be revoked.

But, after considering the evidence, the committee instead ruled on Wednesday to suspended the licence for three months.

Val Guglielmi, chairman of the sub-committee, said the decision was necessary to protect the public.

“We will not accept this sort of behaviour on our streets, and licensed premises have a responsibility to do what they can to prevent it both inside their venues and in the immediate vicinity,” she said.

“The number and severity of the incidents encountered at Kassaba led to our decision to suspend the licence.”

Chief Insp Martin Richards, acting district commander for Essex Police, said: “I welcome this decision as it shows we will not tolerate disorder in our district.

“Licence holders have a duty to put measures in place to stop this behaviour happening, which is both a danger to the public and a burden on our resources.”

Conditions were added to the venue’s licence for when it reopens, including a requirement to install CCTV, for qualified door staff, the use of plastic glasses late at night, not to play music outside, and revised hours of operation.

The venue has 21 days to appeal against the decision.