FLINTSHIRE Council chiefs say the “last thing” they want to do is remove a premises licence, after reviewing a licence for only the third time in nearly 20 years last week.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service reported on a meeting of the council’s licensing sub-committee where the Ruthin Castle pub in Mold had its licensed hours cut and live music licence revoked due to anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance amongst other complaints.
A neighbouring resident of the premises in New Street described fights between customers and anti-social behaviour, adding that “it was like being in Ibiza on holiday, a Club 18-30 type of thing”, after problems flared up earlier this year. The pub has been closed since September.
The holder of the premises licence, EI Group, acknowledged that a stepped approach was attempted between the months of April 2023 and August 2023 with little improvement, and accepted that their tenant had failed to promote the licensing objectives and have committed to keep the premises closed until a suitable tenant is found.
Speaking at last week’s meeting, Richard Taylor, solicitor for the company, said: “We appear here today embarrassed and with an apology to all of those affected by the failure to deal with the issues highlighted.
“We accept we left Gemma (Potter, licensing officer) with no place to go, the only option was to launch review proceedings. We don’t take issue with anything said in the review papers.
“What is clear here is these aren’t problem premises. Residents have been very clear the issue started in April. What we’ve got is a good pub that operated without difficulty but things went drastically wrong.”
He added: “There was a failure of communication for things to go up the chain here.”
According to the council, a review procedure is designed to be a last resort where there has been evidence that a premises has been undermining licensing objectives.
The review application is only the third such application of its kind within Flintshire since the Act was introduced in 2003 and implemented in 2005.
Members of the committee were clear that given the undertakings of the EI Group to supervise the pub more closely in future, as well as the value the community places on the existence of the premises, revocation of the licence was appropriate or proportionate.
This week, Andrew Farrow, Chief Officer for Planning, Environment and Economy said: “We know how hard hospitality was hit by the pandemic, and the council fully understand the importance of premises such as this in local communities for vital socialisation and wellbeing.
“The last thing we want as a licensing authority is to be removing permissions.”
Mold East Councillor Chris Bithell (Lab), Cabinet Member for Planning, Public Health and Public Protection added: “The review procedure is the last resort when other options have been exhausted.
“It is there to protect our communities and this is a good example of how the council has worked in partnership to get the right result for everyone involved.”