Judge orders closure of popular Preston student nightspot

Andy Mac of MACs Bar
Andy Mac of MACs Bar
  • Police were granted a closure order for Macs Bar in Friargate for three months
  • The owner described the verdict as “catastrophic” for more than 100 staff
  • Former UCLan student Andy McDonald opened the bar in 2011
  • Judge Goodwin ruled the management at Macs had failed to properly control drinkers leaving the building

The owner of a popular student nightspot shut down by a judge has described the verdict as “catastrophic” for more than 100 staff.

Police were granted a closure order for Macs Bar in Friargate for three months after hearing about a string of violent incidents involving drinkers - not inside, but in the street outside.

I don’t think it is fair they (the staff) should be punished for the things you have heard about today. If we are closed down that would mean the end of the business - and it really does mean that

Andy McDonald

Former UCLan student Andy McDonald, who opened the bar in 2011, told District Judge Jane Goodwin: “I don’t think it is fair they (the staff) should be punished for the things you have heard about today. If we are closed down that would mean the end of the business - and it really does mean that.”

Judge Goodwin ruled the management at Macs had failed to properly control drinkers leaving the building. There had been a catalogue of disorder incidents outside in Friargate. In one of them a man had his skull fractured and in another police had to use pepper spray to disperse groups of youths. The two-day hearing at the city’s magistrates court was shown CCTV footage of some of the disturbances.

Judge Goodwin said: “There are clearly management problems and failings within this business. The court is satisfied there can be no easy fix in these matters and closure of the premises is therefore necessary.” She said she had taken into account the loss of revenue from the business shutting its doors and also the potential job losses. But she added: “The safety of the public would remain at risk if the premises were allowed to remain open.”

The bar was temorarily shut down by police two weeks ago pending the hearing. It must now remain closed until mid-September, although a council hearing in the next three months could withdraw its licence altogether.

Tom Day, representing the club, argued the level of disorder did not justify closure.