Bar boss appeals

LANDLORD'S APPEAL: Richard Parker.
LANDLORD'S APPEAL: Richard Parker.

A BAR has taken its first step in appealing against a decision to revoke its drinks licence.

JT Finn Irish bar in Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery, was told it could no long serve alcohol after police called for a review of its licence.

Durham County Council’s licensing committee sided with the officers after a report detailing sales of alcopops to underage customers, the discovery of empty bags of cocaine in the toilets and concerns from community leaders who raised concerns about disorder in the area.

But the landlord Richard Parker is mounting a challenge to the decision after drafting in a host of improvements to the bar.

The first court hearing has been held to set a date for a full appeal, which will see residents and Mr Parker put forward their comments, as well as witnesses who will be called by the council.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court will hold a day-long appeal on Wednesday, April 28, with the bar still allowed to sell drink until then.

A petition, which has around 300 names on it so far, is being collected by the bar in support of its cause, with a Facebook page also launched by customers.

Mr Parker, who has been in the trade for more than 20 years, said following the short hearing: “The feedback we’ve had is that people think it’s shocking and are a bit angry about it.

“Really, it’s the last community pub in the area, the rest are clubs, and this has a real pub atmosphere to it.

“That was proven on Boxing Day, when we too part in the dip at Seaham, as did the Half Moon in the village.

“We’ve shown we have community spirit and we’re not some kind of den of iniquity.”

The bar is now a member of Peterlee’s Pubwatch scheme, records what times it opens and closes, shutting at 9.30pm on some evenings, has drafted in a noise meter and is holding ongoing staff training sessions.

Mr Parker has also introduced a Challenge 25 policy, asking anyone who looks under that age to show ID.