A RETIRED detective inspector claims plans to open a new club in the city centre will add to the number of serious sexual and violent crimes committed each week in Salisbury.

Matthew Johnson has called for proposals to transform the Pizza Hut restaurant in Blue Boar Row into a Vodka Revolution nightclub be thrown out.

Mr Johnson, who retired in 2014, wrote to Wiltshire Council claiming police had to deal with on average “one offence of assault causing grievous bodily harm and one offence of serious sexual assault” every week as a result of the nightlife in Milford Street when he was on the force.

But police figures reveal just one sexual offence was reported in Milford Street between 2013 and 2014, with a further three in the surrounding roads. No rapes were recorded.

In the same period 143 crimes classed as “violence with injury” were recorded - an average of more than one a week - but only 16 of these resulted in grievous bodily harm - less than one every six weeks.

Mr Johnson - who says he is is buying a flat above Allum & Sidaway, directly opposite Pizza Hut - added: “My officers and I had to pick up the consequences of this mass of people. People are regularly assaulted.

“These are the most serious offences that my department would have to deal with. In addition are the minor assaults, damage and generally disorderly conduct that would totally occupy the small night shift.”

Mr Johnson added: “If anyone has any doubt about the potential impact I would invite them to visit Milford Street between 3 and 5am on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The road is full of very noisy and often very drunk people. The emergency services are generally in attendance and dozens of taxis are lined up.”

The comments have received backlash from Milford Street’s pub and bar owners, including the Chapel nightclub boss Amanda Newbery, who said they were “insulting” and “false representations”.

She added: [I] find them damaging and vexatious at the least. As an evening and late-night industry, we work hard to support the local economy, operating our premises responsibly and professionally.”

Cathedral Hotel manager Tommy Roberts said the night-time economy was in a “new era”, adding: “We work with our teams, security, police and street pastors towards promoting a safe environment for Salisbury as a community.

“I would say the level of public disorder in relation to the amount of people that use the night time economy in Milford Street is minimal.”