THE new owner of Weymouth’s Crescent Street bingo club has been given a licence which will allow activities until midnight.

Brown Leisure says it has invested a six-figure sum on improving the building and is looking forward to opening.

Dorset councillors have agree a new premises licence to permit the supply of alcohol from 10am to midnight and live and recorded music, performance and dance between the same times.

Some objectors expressed concerns about occasional male strippers for ladies’ nights and late night noise but the licensing hearing was told that by 10pm most customers had generally gone home and the ladies’ nights were no different than those organised by the previous owners and would only be once or twice a year.

Peter Brown from the company, which also trades as Leo Leisure, told the hearing that if neighbours had problems over noise, litter or rubbish collections, he would personally resolve it.

He said his company, based at Eastleigh in Hampshire, was a family operation which cared about its clients and those living near to them.

His legal representative, Julia Palmer, said that almost all the clients were 30 to 60-plus, almost all women: “a demographic not normally associated with late-night disturbances and anti-social behaviour,” she said.

Average audiences for bingo sessions at the new club are being estimated at up to 150 in the evenings with 30-40 for the afternoons.

Mr Brown said that he wanted the drinks and entertainment licence until midnight to cater for the few people who might want to stay on for a drink with friends and for special events such as Christmas, New Year, Valentines night, a summer special and occasional birthday celebrations.

He said the strippers were “nothing like the Press made it out to be’ and would be extremely infrequent, “a bit of a comedy thing.”

The club will be selling draught beers, rather than bottled, in an attempt to reduce the noise from bottles being emptied into bins, and to improve its impact on the environment. The new owners have told residents they will arrange rubbish collections at times likely to cause the least disturbance to those who live in the street and who run hotels and B&Bs nearby.