Police oppose application for Hartlepool bar to extend opening hours

Popworld, Victoria Road, Hartlepool.Popworld, Victoria Road, Hartlepool.
Popworld, Victoria Road, Hartlepool.
Police have objected to a bid from bosses at Popworld to extend the opening hours of its Hartlepool site over crime concerns.

A licensing application from Stonegate Pub Company, the organisation behind Popworld, has been submitted to the council looking to extend hours it can play music and serve alcohol to 3am and extend hours the premise can open to 3.30am.

The application is 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.

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However, police have objected to the plans for the Victoria Road Popworld over fears extended hours would increase the number of violent incidents in the area.

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.

A statement from PC Andy Thorpe, licensing support officer at Cleveland Police, said: “Yates have been subject to sporadic incidents of violence and threats of violence over the past 12 months.

“The hours between 02:00 and 04:00 hours are still some of the busiest for violent crime and disorder with 19 incidents reported [in the area] to the police just since the beginning of 2018.

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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.

“We therefore believe that an extension in the licensable hours would, more than likely, have a negative impact on the night-time economy or the main licensing objectives.”

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, and if the new application is rejected the current licence would remain.

The new licensing application from Stonegate states it would provide a safe environment for people and highlighted its experience in opening late.

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It said: “The purpose for seeking later hours comes from requests from our experience and our customers, who want to continue their night in a safe and comfortable environment.

“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.”

Bosses also said steps will be taken to prevent crime and disorder including a holding an incident book, a zero tolerance drug policy, CCTV, a strict challenge 25 policy and using polycarbonate pint glasses.

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A reply was also submitted form Hartlepool Borough Council 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.”

A decision will be made by the Hartlepool Borough Council licensing sub-committee next Thursday.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service