A troubled pub has been ordered to close after a double stabbing but will be allowed to reopen after three months with a new manager and a new name.
If it reopens, the Montpelier Inn, also known as the Monty, in Montpelier Place, Brighton, will be allowed to serve drinks until 11pm with 30 minutes’ drinking up time.
Customers will be not allowed to drink and smoke outside the back of the pub and up to five people will be allowed to smoke outside the front only until 9.30pm.
The conditions, imposed by Brighton and Hove City Council, also include a requirement for the pub to hold meetings with neighbours at least once every three months.
Neighbours wanted the council to revoke the pub’s licence and to force it to close for good after a man and woman were stabbed in a fight there on Wednesday 4 November.
The 40-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton.
Sussex Police said that he remained in hospital with serious injuries and that six people had since been arrested as an investigation continued.
The stabbings happened after a fight broke out in the pub and the brawl, involving about 20 people, spilt out into the street on the night before the second national coronavirus lockdown.
Yesterday (Tuesday 8 December) a barrister for Sussex Police, Peter Savill, told a virtual council licensing panel that bulk quantities of class A drugs had been found on the premises.
“Deal bags” were found in the drip trays under the beer pumps along with “deal lists”, scales and other drugs paraphernalia.
The police had initially asked the council to review the pub’s licence with a view to revoking it but, after the premises’ owner, pub company Stonegate, became involved, a compromise was reached.
The council licensing panel held a hearing that lasted five hours after which it said that the pub should close for at least three months.
If Stonegate reopened the pub, it should have a new name and new management, the panel said.
The former licence holder, a local company called Rock and Roller Coaster, no longer had the lease and the company had been dissolved.
The live-in landlord, Mohamed Ashur, known as Ash, would no longer be the designated premises supervisor (DPS) with day-to-day responsibility for running the pub.
The panel said that the freeholder Ei, formerly Enterprise Inns, now part of the Stonegate Pub Company, would be required to hold the premises licence for at least 12 months.
It would also have to appoint a new DPS but only once Sussex Police had approved the individual.
The panel said in its decision letter: “The panel has seriously considered revocation of the licence.
“The premises have been associated with the most serious crime and disorder, culminating in the events of (Wednesday) 4 November.
“There has been a complete failure of management and local residents have experienced serious public nuisance and crime and disorder emanating from the premises.
“However, the panel must consider the significant change in circumstances which has occurred since the application for the summary review was brought.
“The new licence holders are not connected with the previous management and have put forward proposals which largely meet the requirements of the police.”
Stonegate agreed to a number of new conditions including an end to live music performances at the venue.
The pub will be expected to employ security staff – with at least one wearing a bodycam – on Friday and Saturday nights and any other evening when necessary.
The pub will also be expected to fit a sound limiter and to soundproof the basement after complaints from neighbours who said that they could “hear everything”.
As well as earlier closing times, the pub will not be allowed to stay open for extended hours on bank holidays and for special events.
Green councillor Alex Phillips, who represents Regency ward, which includes Montpelier Place, said: “Thanks to the police for bringing this review forward and to councillors and residents for taking part in the hearing.
“Obviously I’m disappointed, given the severity of this case and the long-term nature of the problems emanating from this pub, that the licence wasn’t revoked.
“I am, however, pleased with most of the conditions that the panel have imposed but I will be speaking to residents about whether or not to appeal the decision.”
Neighbours told the hearing that they wanted the pub closed for good and converted into flats.
Ei Publican Partnerships said: “We welcome the licensing committee’s decision and we will continue to work with the local authorities and community to establish the best way forward for the pub.”
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