Police will not renew entertainment licence for nightclubs and bars at Orchard Towers

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SINGAPORE - It may soon be last orders for nightclubs and bars at Orchard Towers.

The Straits Times has learnt that operators were told last month in an official notice that their Public Entertainment Licences will not be renewed beyond May next year.

Citing law and order issues, the police said 12 commercial units are affected.

"The law and order situation in Orchard Towers remains of concern, and has not improved over the years," said a police spokesman on Friday (Aug 12).

"There has been a consistently high volume of and strong feedback from nearby residents and neighbouring developments on concerns over public safety, vice activities and nuisance contributed by the presence of nightclubs and bars at Orchard Towers."

The freehold development has two 25-storey blocks.

The first five floors at the commercial block on Orchard Road are filled with retail units and watering holes, and there are another 20 levels of strata-titled offices.

An overhead bridge links it to the mixed-development block directly behind in Claymore Drive, which also includes residential units.

Prior to the pandemic, there were about 30 nightclubs and bars operating at Orchard Towers.

Several landlords and operators, who held a closed-door meeting on Friday (Aug 12), spoke to ST on condition of anonymity.

They said the decision by the police would affect the livelihoods of about 200 full-time employees of the nightclubs.

They added that the notice came as a surprise because many of them had only just renewed their leases as the nightlife scene in Singapore began to reopen.

"We are willing to work with the authorities to deal with the problems, but this blanket ban penalises many landlords and operators unfairly," said a landlord who declined to be named.

"If there are incidents involving specific clubs, then penalise the specific operators, not everyone."

An operator said they were not allowed to pivot when nightclubs were told to shut because of measures to deal with Covid-19.

"A majority of us nightclub operators have been law-abiding, and remained shut for two years because of Covid-19 because we couldn't pivot," he said.

"If the authorities really want to do this, then they should assist us in relocating, to find a place somewhere else."

The affected operators told ST that the bulk of vice activities were not facilitated by the nigh...

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