Sale set to see pub stay open

The Office, Church Street. November 2010
The Office, Church Street. November 2010

THE future of a popular nightspot which is under threat of having its premises licence revoked looks to have been secured after bosses agreed to sell it.

The move to sell The Office, in Hartlepool’s Church Street, comes ahead of a council meeting to decide its future after concerns over the level of music blasting from the premises.

Councillors sitting on Hartlepool Borough Council’s licensing act sub-committee first met in November last year to discuss the application to revoke the premises licence, but agreed to adjourn the decision and give the owners more time to stamp out the problems.

Owner Andrew Haygarth has since revealed that he has sold the bar to John Gate, who runs Idols, in Church Street, in order to concentrate on his other businesses.

He told the Mail: “I have owned The Office for the past 17 years and it is time to concentrate on Vibes and Rosie O’Grady’s, at Navigation Point, which are both run by my daughter Sophie Haygarth.

“I didn’t have any problems for 15 years, but I have rented it out to different managers in recent years and there have been some issues.

“I am pleased to have sold it to John, who has a good reputation in town.”

John Gate, of TatesGate Leisure, said: “We are pleased to have taken over The Office and we will be spending between £30,000 and £50,000 on refurbishing the venue.

“We will be keeping the licence at 2am and plan to change the name to Odd Bar. Hopefully the licensing meeting will be a formality.”

The move to review the licence came after Cleveland Police, council environmental health officers and the Hillcarter Hotel, which is directly opposite the bar, had all complained about the noise levels.

Councillors agreed to adjourn the review of the premises licence after hearing that the licence had been transferred and they agreed to sit down again in the new year.

Mr Haygarth, who had transferred the premises licence from Rachael Gilfoyle to his own trading firm, Haygarth Trading Company, also agreed to close The Office at 2am instead of 4am and to add two extra conditions to the licence.

Conditions include preventing live music being played unless the doors and windows are closed and for an electronic noise limiter being installed to cap the noise level.

The licensing act sub-committee meeting is still due to go ahead and councillors can either take no action, modify the conditions on the licence, suspend the licence for up to three months or revoke it all together.

The Office’s current licence authorises the sale of alcohol, live music, recorded music and dance, between the hours of 11am and 2am seven days a week.

Councillors are due to meet tomorrow at the Civic Centre at 10am.