A Portslade pub faces having its licence revoked today (Monday 6 October) after Sussex Police asked councillors to carry out a review.
The future of the Harbour View, in Wellington Road, Portslade, will be decided by a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel.
Brighton and Hove’s police commander Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp wrote to the council in August detailing a series of incidents some of which are the subject of criminal proceedings.
Chief Superintendent Kemp said: “Sussex Police contend that the following licensing objectives have been seriously undermined
- the prevention of crime and disorder
- the protection of children from harm
“Since the grant of a new licence to Mr Artan Bika for the Harbour View on 23 October 2013, there have been a number of incidents of concern associated with this premises.
“These include allegations of drug use and incidents of sexual assault, drunk and disorderly (behaviour) and breaches of the premises licence conditions.
“There has also been a large fight in the vicinity, resulting in two assaults on police officers.
“One those involved being a 17-year-old female who stated she had previously been drinking alcohol in the Harbour View.
“Sussex Police regularly undertake test purchases based on intelligence concerning children under the age of 18 being able to purchase alcohol from licensed premises.
“On 28 July 2014, a test purchase was carried out at the Harbour View and alcohol was sold to a 16-year-old child.
“There have been continued failures by the management and staff to promote the licensing objectives, particularly the protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder.
“This is despite numerous interventions by Sussex Police and the local authority.
“Sussex Police licensing team have endeavoured to work with the management of the Harbour View in an attempt to reduce the crime and disorder generated by this premises and prevent further breaches of the premises licence.
“A number of visits have been made to the Harbour View by Sussex Police, the local authority and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service after various issues were raised.
“Despite these interventions, the premises licence holder, Mr Bika, has failed to make any significant or sustainable changes which will promote the licensing objectives.
“Furthermore, Mr Bika has failed to adhere to existing premises licence conditions.”
On one occasion when police were called to the pub – on Friday 16 May – officers arrested Mr Bika for being drunk and disorderly.
Traces of cocaine and heroin have been found at the pub, according to the police, and illegal immigrants were found living upstairs there.
They were apparently working for Mr Bika at the neighbouring Portslade Car Wash, in Camden Street.
The landlady of the nearest pub to the Harbour View wrote to the council in support of the Police request for a review.
Penelope Payne, who runs the Blue Anchor, in Station Road, Portslade, said: “The Harbour View is now a well-known venue to acquire illegal drugs and there is blatant drug taking and passing in the street.
“Portslade itself is having its reputation damaged by these licensed premises.
“There is no competition issue with the Harbour View. Indeed, I would welcome a decent licensed premises in the locality.
“These premises remaining open are a danger to children, a public nuisance and encourage crime and disorder.”
The licensing panel sitting this morning will be chaired by Councillor Steph Powell, a Green, and will include Councillor Dee Simson, a Conservative, and, for Labour, Councillor Mo Marsh.
The panel can modify the conditions of the licence to exclude a licensable activity or remove the designated premises supervisor from the licence. It can also suspend the licence for up to three months or revoke the licence.
The police and the council’s own licensing team are urging the panel to revoke the Harbour View’s licence.
The council has also received a letter from Kate Stevens, who described herself as “a local resident, customer and member of staff”.
She said: “There is a new team in place and the pub is a very different place from that portrayed in the review document.
“There is a drug prevention strategy in place including training staff in observation and awareness, half hourly toilet checks and physical measures to prevent the use of drugs on the premises.
“I understand that your duty is to ensure public safety but I also ask you to consider the devastating impact on the local community if the Harbour View were to have the licence revoked.”
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