Northern Ireland

PSNI raise concern over El Divino's location close to interface

The owners of a new Ibiza-style club in Belfast have said they are liaising with the police after officers raised concerns about the location of the venue.

El Divino is due to open later this month at what was formerly The Edge bar and restaurant.

The premises are close to the AlbertBridge Road which police regard as a sectarian interface.

The club's owners said they are investing £1m and creating 60 jobs.

In a submission to the city council's Licensing Committee the PSNI said the club is in a "sensitive and often volatile area".

They added that bringing over 1,000 people into the area could increase "the public safety risk".

The club is a short walk from the AlbertBridge Road/ Short Strand interface.

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.

Employment

The police said that the new club also raises "operational capacity issues" as it is not in one of Belfast's main entertainment areas which they identify as Shaftsbury Square, the Cathedral Quarter and The Odyssey.

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: "El Divino has specifically chosen Belfast as a key location within its launch of new and exclusive venues throughout Europe due to the regeneration, potential and growth within the city.

"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 next week.

The deputy chair of the committee, councillor John Hussey, said: "I am delighted the council has the opportunity to support the creation of 60 jobs and a £1m investment in the economy of the city.

"We need to ensure that the city council continues to support growth in the local economy and the regeneration of Belfast."