A PUB chief who has been the public face of landlords in Hartlepool has stepped down after 11 years in the role.
Richard Sewell established the Hartlepool Licensees Association back in 2001 and has been chairman for more than a decade.
But the 63-year-old town man resigned from his role at a meeting of the association yesterday.
Trevor Wilding, landlord at the Jacksons Arms, in Tower Street, and currently the secretary of the association, will now take over as chairman.
Mr Sewell has been in the trade for 40 years and is former landlord at town pubs The Park Inn, The Greensides and The Tavern, in Church Street.
He said: “I no longer run a pub and to be honest I felt a little bit away from it all.
“It is best that somebody still involved in the pub trade and is closer to it is chairman.
“I have enjoyed my time and think we have achieved a lot working in conjunction with the council and the police.
“I have found it productive and hopefully it has been worthwhile in making the town a safer place for staff and customers.”
He said the highlight of his time in charge has been the introduction of the ‘Barred from one, Barred from all’ scheme, which aims to root out trouble makers in pubs across Hartlepool.
Mr Sewell said he believes Church Street and other night-time hot spots are safer now but admitted town is quieter than it used to be.
He added: “There have been a number of initiatives over the years to make the town safer and I have enjoyed working closely with the police and Ian Harrison at Hartlepool Borough Council.”
At its height there were 48 paid up members of Hartlepool Licensees Association but that has dropped to 28 in recent years, although there is still officially 40 members.
He added: “Trevor has been an active member and he is going to take over the reins.”
Mr Sewell appeared in the Mail recently after Mayor Stuart Drummond called for an end to 24-hour drinking in Hartlepool.
Speaking at the time he said there is some support for 2am closing across the board but warned it could lead to job losses.
He said some owners have designed their businesses around late closing and cannot afford to suddenly go back to 2am and that any changes needed to be carefully thought out.
Speaking at the time, Mr Sewell said: “There has been a culture change in recent years but that is the culture that has been brought in.
“What with cheap alcohol in supermarkets people are not going out as much and instead staying at home drinking.”
Hartlepool Licensees Association is also a member of the national Pubwatch scheme.