Hartlepool bar with record of violence can stay open - but must close earlier

The Showroom in Victoria Road will have to close an hour earlier.
The Showroom in Victoria Road will have to close an hour earlier.

Council chiefs have thrown a town centre bar a lifeline in allowing it to retain its licence - but it must shut an hour earlier in a bid to reduce violence.

The Showroom, in Victoria Road, Hartlepool, was fearful that its licence could be revoked amid police concerns about the level of violence it had previously experienced.

Licensing chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council reviewed the bar’s licence at a meeting in the Civic Centre.

Sergeant Paul Higgins, from Cleveland Police’s Licensing Department, told councillors that from the autumn of 2014, violent incidents had started to rise, of which 26 were a concern.

These included one reveller suffering a broken jaw, another with a fractured skull, and others being knocked unconscious.

Thirty-eight per cent - or 10 out of 26 incidents - happened between 3am and 4am before the premises closed.

Pc Higgins said the owner of the bar, Craig Wilkinson, of 1st Leisure, had stepped up and worked well with police to come up with an action plan to combat the problems.

The package of suggestions included:

l Reducing opening hours to 3am;

l “Beefed up” CCTV, documentation, and communication with police;

l More reliable and continuing management of the pub in the shape of Mr Wilkinson, who was ill for a time last year, instead of a paid manager as was previously the case.

Pc Higgins said: “The 3am closure will provide us with that reduction in more serious incidents. It also leaves us the option to take more action if it doesn’t resolve it.”

The meeting also heard that since North East security firm T3 Security had taken the reigns on the doors on April 2 this year, there had been only three incidents - none of which the police classed as serious.

Chairman of the meeting, Councillor Trisha Lawton said: “After careful consideration we are pleased to hear both parties have reached agreement and we are willing to accept the recommendations and licensing hours to 3am.”