New treatment on the cards for Doctor Brighton

A seafront pub in Brighton could reopen if the owners can agree suitable licence conditions with Sussex Police.

The new leaseholder of Doctor Brighton’s, in King’s Road, Brighton, wants to reopen the pub as the Star and Garter.

Star and Garter Brighton Ltd has applied to sell alcohol from 9am each day, closing at 1am on Monday to Friday and at 2am on a Saturday and Sunday morning.

A Sussex Police licensing officer said that the force accepted that there were “exceptional circumstances” to permit the reopening of the pub.

It had a long history and its licence had lapsed earlier this year because of an administrative error.

But there was a sticking point over door staff, registered with the Security Industry Authority (SIA), which the police want resolved by a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel.

Doctor Brighton’s employed someone on the door voluntarily at peak times but the police want the council to insist on door staff as a condition of a new licence.

In a letter to the council, an anonymous police official wrote: “By employing SIA security on the door at weekends and during other peak dates, this assists police by becoming a deterrent to stop incidents occurring in the first place or being able to nip them in the bud before they get out of hand and require police attendance.

“They also reduce the risk of an underage person gaining entrance to venues.

“Although this is the responsibility of the person serving the drink to check ID, by having security on the door, this is an opportunity to stop underage gaining entrance in the first place and deal with any safeguarding concerns.”

Other venues in the area have SIA door staff, the licensing officer wrote, and having no door staff would have a negative impact on the Star and Garter.

Sussex Police also want off-sales removed from the licence and the anonymous official said: “We experience a number of issues within public spaces such as the beach and local parks which are linked to people consuming alcohol that has been purchased from venues as well as off-licences.

“It encourages people to drink within an uncontrolled environment. As well as crime and disorder there is a risk of proxy sales to underage persons.”

Doctor Brighton’s closed in November 2018, after the previous operator faced a hefty rent rise.

Star and Garter’s operations director, whose details were redacted by the council but who is listed as Simon Duddington, said that work that should have taken three months had taken three years because the company had been through three planning processes to deal with structural issues.

The pub is a grade II listed building owned by Brighton and Hove City Council.

It was originally called the Star and Garter Hotel when it opened in the 18th century before being dubbed Doctor Brighton’s in the 19th century.

He said: “There has always been a licence in place at the property and it had a rich history in Brighton prior to closing.

“There were no issues outstanding and, if anything, the immediate area suffers when the building is not active, so the sooner we can get the works finished and open, the better.”

Mr Duddington’s fellow directors include the founders of Bison Beer, Nick Vardy and Jack Cregan.

They also operate the Pond and Easy Tiger through the Crafthouse Collective.

A licensing panel made up of three councillors is due to consider the licence application at a hearing starting at 10am on Thursday (2 September).

The hearing is scheduled to be webcast on the council website.

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