Maggie's Bar: Halifax town centre nightclub shut for six weeks allowed to reopen this weekend
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Members of Calderdale Council’s licensing panel have agreed conditions for Maggie’s Bar on Commercial Street should change but the licence should not be revoked.
The club and associated cocktail bar McFly’s have been shut since two men were stabbed and died in Halifax town centre on October 1.
Maggie’s posted on its social media a few days after the tragedy that it would not open the following weekend in tribute to Joshua Clark and Haidar Shah and so its staff could process what had happened.
The same day the nightspot made the announcement, West Yorkshire Police had imposed an emergency closure on Maggie’s which was then extended by a court order.
Police had asked Calderdale Council to review the bar’s licence in September – before the stabbings.
And licensing councillors by law have to review licences after a court order is made to close premises. The court order for Maggie’s was placed until November 17.
West Yorkshire Police told Calderdale Council’s licensing sub-committee they were not seeking revocation of the licence following conversations with the owners and changes to the licences’ conditions.
Police also stressed the request for review of the Maggie’s licence had been made before October stabbings because of incidents relating to the club between January 2022 and September 2023.
The court papers included detailed incidences of violence including one relating to a dancefloor wounding, after which the club agreed to install a knife arch to detect weapons, and a series of incidents involving door staff.
Police were concerned about what they described in the court papers as “serious disorder and violence".
But Andrew Garthwaite, solicitor for West Yorkshire Police, said these fears could be allayed provided licence changes were made and they were not seeking the “nuclear option” of closure.
The licence changes the councillors imposed include the club using a security company and security staff which satisfied the police, re-joining Halifax’s town centre radio scheme and using a “knife arch” entry for weapon searches.
Mr Garthwaite the review can be described as a “shot across the bows” for the club, and if things lapsed “the shot would go straight through".
Solicitor for Maggie’s, Joanne Lata, said the club was not the worst in terms of incident numbers compared to other areas of the town centre.
“Their primary concern is that the public have a good time in their premises and are safe outside their premises,” she said.
Regarding the two men’s deaths in October, the club owners felt it was unfair to apportion blame for something which did not happen on their premises and was so tragic, said Ms Lata.
A spokesperson for Maggie’s told the Courier they welcomed the requested measures as they already had them in place for the past eight years.
The spokesperson also said the club was now allowed to open this weekend.
Their Facebook post last month said their staff had rushed to help and provide first aid to the two men who were stabbed before police and paramedics arrived.