Pub could lose licence after spate of violent incidents

The Bay Horse in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The Bay Horse in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

The future of an Essex pub plagued by violence and which last month was the scene of a mass brawl will be decided this week after police called for its licence to be reviewed.

Brewing giant Greene King has been forced to defend its position against allegations that its hands-off approach to Moulsham Street’s The Bay Horse pub led to “violence, drug dealing and underage drinking”.

The Bay Horse’s licence is currently held by the Spirit Pub Company (Services) Limited, part of the Greene King group, which owns the pub.

The pub is facing the possibility of being closed down after a series of disturbances over the past two months – including a mass brawl on August 9 which resulted in four people being treated in hospital.

Allegations levelled against the pub includes knife-wielding customers, a customer left with a fractured skull and fights involving up to 50 people.

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Chelmsford City Council now has five days to make a final decision on what, if any, licensing action to take.

Essex Police licence officer Gordon Ashford told the council’s licensing committee that although Greene King are the licence holders, they “have no day-to-day control of the premises whatsoever”.

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He added: “They have no direct mechanism to ensure the operation of the premises is in accordance with the licencing act and the objectives of the licencing act. They have no direct oversight.”

Day-to-day operations were in the hands of tenant.

At the licensing meeting, Piers Warne, representing Greene King, said: “Greene King do not condone any action that undermines the licence objectives.

“Greene King is a significant company with thousands of premises licences and where we can, we work very closely with officers, council, police and committee members to assist when these things inevitably do happen sometimes.”

Speaking specifically about the Bay Horse, he said: “This pub is free of tie, we let the premises, we have a landlord and under that lease we are obliged to hold the premises licence.

“After that, it’s a very arms-length landlord and tenant relationship.

“There is no doubt at all and there is case law to say that a landlord is perfectly entitled to hold a premises licence and at that point take no part in the operations of the premises.”

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