Bar facing review of its licence

A BAR could have its licence revoked after police concerns over the level of violence and anti-social behaviour at the town centre nightspot.

Cleveland Police has applied to Hartlepool Borough Council for a review of the premises licence at The Loft, in Church Street.

It comes after concerns about incidents inside and outside the premises in recent months.

Officers also have issues about the lack of CCTV footage and the number of door supervisors working at busy times.

Councillors sitting on the council’s licensing act sub-committee will meet in the new year to discuss police concerns.

A council report said: “Cleveland Police has requested a review of the premises licence on the grounds that there have been numerous incidents, including violence and anti-social behaviour, within the premises which have undermined the licensing objectives.”

The Loft’s current premises licence allows the premises to sell alcohol, play live and recorded music between the hours of 10am and 4am, Monday to Sunday.

The police application for a review outlines their concerns.

It reads: “The Loft has been a problem premises to Cleveland Police for some time and is continuing to cause concern.

“Concerns have centred on violence, anti-social behaviour and drunk and disorderly persons associated with the premises.”

Linda Baker, who became the premises licence holder in May this year, did not want to comment when contacted by the Mail.

A meeting was held between Ms Baker and the police in September to discuss the problems, at which she agreed to an action plan.

The plan set out that CCTV images must be made available to the police on demand and that two door supervisors must be employed at “core times”.

But on October 8, at 3.25am, police reported that between 30 and 40 people - who they say were “clearly drunk” - were pushing and shoving to get in.

Police noticed that there was only one door supervisor on duty, who was struggling to control the crowd, just weeks after the action plan was agreed.

Meanwhile, on October 30, at 1.20am, police were called four times to deal with fights that had started out inside the premises and spilled out onto the street.

The report said the incident was of “such concern” that officers asked the club to close voluntarily.

Again there was only one door supervisor working, and when police asked for CCTV Ms Baker admitted there was none.

Police say there appeared to be “no understanding” of the seriousness of the situation.

The report added: “Cleveland Police believe due to the concerns, they have had no alternative but to make an application to review the premises licence as failure to do so may lead to persons being seriously injured.”

Committee members can take no action, modify conditions on the licence, suspend the licence for up to three months or revoke the licence.

The council’s licensing act sub-committee is due to meet on Friday, January 6 at 10am, at the Civic Centre.