Wedding venue shut down and manager fined £10k for big reception

News

A wedding venue has been ordered to close and the manager has been slapped with a £10,000 fine after a big reception with more than 100 guests was held.

Grand Park Hall in Luton was raided by police on September 23 following reports of crowds breaching Covid-19 restrictions.

At the time, weddings were allowed just 30 guests – a number that has now been reduced to 15.

Police were forced to issue a dispersal notice to reduce crowds that remained in the town once the event was brought to a close.

On Tuesday, Bedfordshire Police issued a £10,000 fixed penalty notice to the manager who was on duty at the time.

The venue has been ordered to close indefinitely by Luton Council, and will only be allowed to reopen once officials are satisfied it can and will do so safely.

Chief Superintendent John Murphy said: “This case was a flagrant disregard of the rules and risked undoing all of the good work that is being done by the majority of people.

“It also showed a lack of respect for all those who have postponed wedding celebrations or have stuck to smaller numbers.”

He said officers had repeatedly asked the venue to close down and tell guests to leave, and they had been forced to take action when it failed to do so.

Councillor Jacqui Burnett, portfolio holder in charge of enforcement in Luton, said: “This was a shocking and dangerous breach of the Covid-19 restrictions at a time where we are seeing a concerning rise in cases both nationally and locally.”

She added: “I’m fully supportive of the punishments which have been handed out given the threat that the event had on public health.

“We are prepared to use the powers we have to protect and save the lives of every Luton resident.”

Grand Park Hall has been approached for comment.