Delay on decision to extend the opening hours at Hartlepool's Popworld to allow talks with police

A decision on the bid by Popworld bosses to extend its opening hours has been delayed due to talks with police.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17 January, 2019, 14:07
Popworld, Victoria Road Hartlepool

Police had objected to an application from Stonegate Pub Company, the organisation behind Popworld, to extend hours it can play music and serve alcohol to 3am and extend hours the premise can open to 3.30am.

The application was also to allow them to remain open an additional hour on certain holidays such as St Patrick’s Day, St George’s Day, Halloween, Bank Holiday weekends, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Ian Harrison, Trading Standards and licensing manager for Hartlepool Borough Council.

A decision on the application was due to be made by the Hartlepool Borough Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee today, however the hearing was adjourned after a request by Popworld for further talks with police.

Ian Harrison, trading standards and licensing manager at the council, said: “We received a request from Popworld to adjourn for further discussions with Cleveland Police.

“They were amenable for that suggestion and as such the hearing has been adjourned to a date not yet set.”

He also confirmed if Popworld want to continue with its application a new licensing hearing will be required regardless of the outcome of the talks.

The council’s current licensing policy states that ‘applications for licences to allow the sale of alcohol or the supply of late night refreshment beyond 2am will normally be refused.’

Police initially objected to the plans for the Victoria Road Popworld over fears extended hours would increase violence in the area.

A statement submitted before the hearing from PC Andy Thorpe, licensing support officer at Cleveland Police, said: “The hours between 02:00 and 04:00 hours are still some of the busiest for violent crime and disorder.

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“Our fear is that if “Popworld” opens until 3.30am they will suffer from some of these types of incidents, putting a greater strain on their staff and door staff and resulting in an increase in the incidents reported from and at the premise.”

Currently the site has a licence to serve alcohol until 2am and remain open until 2.30am, and remain open an additional hour on certain holidays.

The new licensing application from Stonegate stated it would provide a safe environment for people.

It said: “The applicant feels the extension of the terminal hours will ensure customers can stay in a well-managed, controlled and supervised environment for longer.

“Stonegate also operate 28 other premises under their Popworld branch which operate until 3am or later and are therefore exceptionally experienced in operating under these circumstances.”

A reply was also submitted from the Hartlepool Borough Council’s licensing manager to the proposals highlighting the Statement of Licensing Policy for the area.

It states: “The licensing authority does not accept that longer opening hours have been a benefit to Hartlepool, but rather that they place an undue and unnecessary strain on accident and emergency services.

“In non-residential areas applications for licenses to allow the sale of alcohol or supply of late night refreshment beyond 2am will normally be refused.”

The chain is renowned for championing 1990s cheese and noughties nostalgia and has been open since November, but the site was previously home to Yates.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service