A troubled Brighton pub must stay closed until the middle of next month and when it reopens it will have extra restrictions on its licence.
The Black Horse, in Church Street, was ordered to close for 28 days last month after police found that a fight had taken place there and which staff had failed to report.
Sussex Police already had concerns before asking Brighton and Hove City Council to close the Black Horse.
Police had checked for drugs and twice found high readings for cocaine in the pub toilets although there were fewer traces after a redesign of the toilets.
At a council licencing panel on Monday (13 February), police requested a further eight-week suspension after the freeholder Stonegate Group agreed to tighter licence conditions.
Stonegate’s solicitor Graeme Cushion said that the situation was down to poor management control – and the company were disappointed in what they heard from neighbours about bad management.
The company had already replaced the entire team at the pub, including the door security company.
But the sticking point was the length of any further suspension of the licence. Sussex Police wanted eight more weeks but Stonegate wanted to reopen before the Easter bank holiday weekend and to allow the new team to settle in.
The police also wanted the pub’s hours to be cut so that it closed earlier. But Stonegate said that its 1am closing time allowed for better customer dispersal.
The council licensing panel ordered a further five-week suspension of the licence, with the pub permitted to reopen on Monday 20 March, two weeks before Easter.
The panel also reduced the licensed hours from Monday to Wednesday, allowing drink to be sold until midnight, with the pub closing at 12.30am.
From Thursday to Sunday, the hours will remain as they were on the existing licence, with a 1am closing time except on Sundays when it was already midnight.
In a letter setting out the decision, the panel said: “We agree that to open in the middle of the Easter period would be ill-advised but are mindful of the need to ensure a clean break with the past and allow time for the new team to be trained and embedded.”
On the slightly shorter hours, the panel said: “It was noted that a reduction was not generally supported by the local residents or business.”
Additional conditions added to the licence are
- Installing a noise limiter set at a level determined by environmental health services and secured with a key or password
- Quarterly meetings with neighbours
- Management phone numbers available to neighbours
- Rear garden cleared and closed by 11pm
- TV removed from the rear garden and no entertainment in the area
- No DJ-led entertainment other than when applied for through a temporary event notice
The panel, made up of three councillors, added: “The panel consider that these steps are an appropriate response to the review and will promote the licensing objectives.
“The panel is aware of the serious nature of what has led to this review and is mindful that if there is a recurrence of such issues and a further review is called, the consequences could be even more serious. “