The oldest gay pub in Brighton has won a reprieve at a review of its licence today (Monday 21 September).
Sussex Police had applied for a review of the Bulldog’s licence after a series of problems, including persistent underage drinking and a string of sex attacks on drunk and vulnerable women.
But when a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel met earlier, Sussex Police said that positive changes had been made in the running of the bar in St James’s Street, Brighton.
These could include reduced trading hours, plastic glasses and a better CCTV system.
The licensing panel, sitting at Brighton Town Hall, was told that the security company that employed the door staff working at the Bulldog had been replaced.
Under the new set up, door staff were operating the Challenge 25 policy to minimise the risk of further underage drinking.
The panel did not publish its verdict at the end of its sitting. It has five days to do so.
If it does suspend the Bulldog’s licence, the suspension is unlikely to start for 21 days, giving the pub the chance to appeal.
If the Bulldog does appeal, any suspension will not start until the appeal hearing has taken place in court.
Sussex police asked for the pub’s licence to be reviewed and revoked because the pub was breaching three of the council’s four licensing objectives.
They relate to public safety, the protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder.
When Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp applied for the revocation of the Bulldog’s licence, he said: “Submitting a review application is a serious step.
“We have consistently tried to work with the Bulldog to address these issues but there has been little discernible improvement and there continues to be a blatant disregard for people’s safety and welfare so we have been left with no other option.
“The continued risks posed to public safety and particularly the vulnerable by the venue is unacceptable and I am determined that this does not continue any longer.”
Chief Superintendent Kemp, the divisional police commander for Brighton and Hove, said that the review application cites 48 incidents where police have been called to the pub since January 2014 last year.
He added that a test purchase operation on Friday 17 July found that alcohol was sold to a 17-year-old.
Police spoke to the licence holder Dean Holmes but within a few hours a 13-year-old and 15-year-old child were admitted to the pub.
Since the application to close the pub became public, regulars have campaigned for it to stay open and the management have started to address the concerns raised by police.
The panel’s decision is expected tomorrow (Tuesday) or on Wednesday.
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