Fire-hit club to get big revamp

This Is Wiltshire: Charlotte Rogers, daughter of Dream Lounge owner Peter Rogers, inside the building Charlotte Rogers, daughter of Dream Lounge owner Peter Rogers, inside the building

WORK is progressing well at the torched Dream Lounge as the club is due to be handed back to the owners next month.

On Friday, Faisal Qaddus, 27, of Amber Court, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered at Swindon Crown Court.

In July of last year, Qaddus reversed a car into the front of the club on Victoria Road and doused it with petrol before setting it alight while the owner, Peter Rogers, was inside.

The court heard how Qaddus had targeted the club the year before by attacking the windows of the building with a hammer.

Damage to the club has been extensive, and repair work to the structure is only now beginning to see some results, after the ceilings and walls have had to be ripped out and replaced.

But the skeleton of what will be the new Dream Lounge is now almost complete, and Peter is looking forward to giving it a new lease of life.

“My daughter was there for a progress meeting last week, and things are going very smoothly,” he said.

“The target is the end of February for the builders to be finished, and then they will be handing over control to us so we can do our bit.

“Everything downstairs has had to be stripped out, and the ceilings and walls have had to be replaced. There was a lot of damage in there. We have done some alterations to the layout of the building, opening it up more and moving the bar.

“Because we have got a blank canvas we have decided to make some changes.

“We have got a lot of ideas we want to put in place, so this seemed like a good opportunity to do it.

“There is a silver lining here somewhere, but we would have preferred for this not to have happened of course.

“It will be keeping its name, but the logo will be changing because we will be exploiting the fire. The name will be the same, but the logo will be a woman made up of flames.”

Peter added he disputed the speculation in court that the reasons Qaddus targeted his club was because he thought what went on inside was sinful.

“If he has a grievance against the industry as a whole, why has he just targeted our club?” he asked.

“If I have got a problem with something I do not go and set fire to it. He is wholly culpable for his actions, and I do think the sentence should have been harsher.

“He has already served six months and he has only got a four year sentence, so he could be back out again in 18 months with good behaviour.

“What he has done is baffling, and I just want to know where his head was at the time. Just because he has some problems does not mean he can go around doing what he likes.

“There is always a chance he is going to come back to us after he is released, and there is nothing we can do about that.

“I would just like to sit down and talk to him. I would not exactly welcome him with open arms, but I want to find out what his reasons were.”

Comments (9)

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11:27am Mon 20 Jan 14

ChannelX says...

While it is good to see a local business managing to bounce back from such an appalling crime, serious questions must now be asked about (a) why the criminal concerned was completely let off after attacking the club previously and (b) why the sentence for his conviction was so spectacularly unduly lenient.

The maximum sentence possible for Faisal Qaddus' crime was Life. As it turns out, he will actually serve just 2 years behind bars.

Arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered is an extremely serious crime. It was made even worse by the fact he caused well over £150,000 worth of damage... and yet the sentence handed down does not seem to go anywhere near reflecting the seriousness of what was done.

I'm not surprised that the owner of the club fears the attacker may well return to repeat his crime. In fact, I'd be more surprised if he didn't, especially after the judge has basically told him it's not something the courts intend to take seriously.
While it is good to see a local business managing to bounce back from such an appalling crime, serious questions must now be asked about (a) why the criminal concerned was completely let off after attacking the club previously and (b) why the sentence for his conviction was so spectacularly unduly lenient. The maximum sentence possible for Faisal Qaddus' crime was Life. As it turns out, he will actually serve just 2 years behind bars. Arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered is an extremely serious crime. It was made even worse by the fact he caused well over £150,000 worth of damage... and yet the sentence handed down does not seem to go anywhere near reflecting the seriousness of what was done. I'm not surprised that the owner of the club fears the attacker may well return to repeat his crime. In fact, I'd be more surprised if he didn't, especially after the judge has basically told him it's not something the courts intend to take seriously. ChannelX
  • Score: 6

11:53am Mon 20 Jan 14

Always Grumpy says...

It's a pity the whole block of tatty buildings hadn't been totally destroyed and the area cleared. It certainly does nothing to enhance the new development on the old college site.
It's a pity the whole block of tatty buildings hadn't been totally destroyed and the area cleared. It certainly does nothing to enhance the new development on the old college site. Always Grumpy
  • Score: 3

11:57am Mon 20 Jan 14

ChannelX says...

Always Grumpy wrote:
It's a pity the whole block of tatty buildings hadn't been totally destroyed and the area cleared. It certainly does nothing to enhance the new development on the old college site.
I'd imagine most of the businesses (or at least the landlords who own those buildings) are holding out until the new development is open and active. If it does well, as it hopefully will do, their previously almost worthless old properties will suddenly become worth a lot more and will likely be sold off and redeveloped.
[quote][p][bold]Always Grumpy[/bold] wrote: It's a pity the whole block of tatty buildings hadn't been totally destroyed and the area cleared. It certainly does nothing to enhance the new development on the old college site.[/p][/quote]I'd imagine most of the businesses (or at least the landlords who own those buildings) are holding out until the new development is open and active. If it does well, as it hopefully will do, their previously almost worthless old properties will suddenly become worth a lot more and will likely be sold off and redeveloped. ChannelX
  • Score: 4

12:41pm Mon 20 Jan 14

BigBarry says...

Just can't wait for the strip club to re open, Swindon town centre is just not the same with only two strip clubs, and it can only benefit he young woman who will be lucky enough to get a prestige job there, it will be a real asset to the community.
Just can't wait for the strip club to re open, Swindon town centre is just not the same with only two strip clubs, and it can only benefit he young woman who will be lucky enough to get a prestige job there, it will be a real asset to the community. BigBarry
  • Score: -1

1:28pm Mon 20 Jan 14

house on the hill says...

BigBarry wrote:
Just can't wait for the strip club to re open, Swindon town centre is just not the same with only two strip clubs, and it can only benefit he young woman who will be lucky enough to get a prestige job there, it will be a real asset to the community.
I am assuming that was tongue in cheek? Strip clubs are for sad muppets with no life and should never be referred to as "Gentlemen's" clubs as no real gentleman would go within a million miles of one.!
[quote][p][bold]BigBarry[/bold] wrote: Just can't wait for the strip club to re open, Swindon town centre is just not the same with only two strip clubs, and it can only benefit he young woman who will be lucky enough to get a prestige job there, it will be a real asset to the community.[/p][/quote]I am assuming that was tongue in cheek? Strip clubs are for sad muppets with no life and should never be referred to as "Gentlemen's" clubs as no real gentleman would go within a million miles of one.! house on the hill
  • Score: -3

1:41pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Empty Car Park says...

Not true. Me and my mates go to strip clubs at least once a month and have a great time. We're good to the girls and they're good to us LOL :-)
Not true. Me and my mates go to strip clubs at least once a month and have a great time. We're good to the girls and they're good to us LOL :-) Empty Car Park
  • Score: 3

2:53pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Chrisg46 says...

Personally, as far as strip clubs are concerned i have no problems with them, as long as the girls want to work there - its their body after all. If they get paid well off us mugs, then everyones a winner :)

Not sure about how the town centre is not the same with just two though - Its not as if there have been three for long! In fact didnt the third one open just a coupl eof weeks before Dream lounge shut?
Personally, as far as strip clubs are concerned i have no problems with them, as long as the girls want to work there - its their body after all. If they get paid well off us mugs, then everyones a winner :) Not sure about how the town centre is not the same with just two though - Its not as if there have been three for long! In fact didnt the third one open just a coupl eof weeks before Dream lounge shut? Chrisg46
  • Score: 1

5:52pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Cooking_by_smoke_alarm says...

house on the hill says...


BigBarry wrote:
Just can't wait for the strip club to re open, Swindon town centre is just not the same with only two strip clubs, and it can only benefit he young woman who will be lucky enough to get a prestige job there, it will be a real asset to the community.
I am assuming that was tongue in cheek? Strip clubs are for sad muppets with no life and should never be referred to as "Gentlemen's" clubs as no real gentleman would go within a million miles of one.!

Muppet here....I agree with Empty Car Park....a giggle and a laugh...

....so on that score, are all the women who go and see Dreamboys/strippers etc sad pathetic souls as well?...I don't think so, they are just out for a laugh and having a good time with their mates....you sound as though you have a strong morallistic streak with a distinct whiff of dissaproving religion coming to the fore?
house on the hill says... BigBarry wrote: Just can't wait for the strip club to re open, Swindon town centre is just not the same with only two strip clubs, and it can only benefit he young woman who will be lucky enough to get a prestige job there, it will be a real asset to the community. I am assuming that was tongue in cheek? Strip clubs are for sad muppets with no life and should never be referred to as "Gentlemen's" clubs as no real gentleman would go within a million miles of one.! Muppet here....I agree with Empty Car Park....a giggle and a laugh... ....so on that score, are all the women who go and see Dreamboys/strippers etc sad pathetic souls as well?...I don't think so, they are just out for a laugh and having a good time with their mates....you sound as though you have a strong morallistic streak with a distinct whiff of dissaproving religion coming to the fore? Cooking_by_smoke_alarm
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Mon 20 Jan 14

ChаnnelX says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
Not true. Me and my mates go to strip clubs at least once a month and have a great time. We're good to the girls and they're good to us LOL :-)
If I had any mates I'd probably go as well.

LOL.
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: Not true. Me and my mates go to strip clubs at least once a month and have a great time. We're good to the girls and they're good to us LOL :-)[/p][/quote]If I had any mates I'd probably go as well. LOL. ChаnnelX
  • Score: -3

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