Pub's links to town crime to be examined

CRIME and disorder linked by police to a town centre pub will come under the spotlight when a review of the bar's operation is held.

Richard Smith

CRIME and disorder linked by police to a town centre pub will come under the spotlight when a review of the bar's operation is held.

Suffolk police have asked for a review of the premises licence at the Black Horse in Leiston after officers said there had been a “poor management of the premises resulting in a failure to prevent the occurrence of crime and disorder”.

Officers have compiled a list of breaches of the premises licence and they will outline their fears about the High Street pub, a favourite late-night haunt for young people, at a hearing held by Suffolk Coastal's licensing and health sub-committee on January 9.

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The district council has various options available ranging from revoking the licence to imposing more stringent conditions.

The Black Horse includes The Venue nightclub which is open on Friday and Saturday from 9pm and it has become a “music-dominated” pub.

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Nicholas Treeby, who holds a 10-year lease for the pub, has spent �100,000 on improving the premises which were closed and derelict when he took on the lease in 2007.

He has claimed that he is being made a “scapegoat” for crime problems in Leiston and said he has cut the amount of crime associated with the Black Horse.

But a council report for the sub0committee hearing warns that there have been “numerous incidents” of crime and disorder, and there have also been complaints about loud noise.

According to the report, noise was an issue in April, July, August and September and nearby residents were unable to sleep due to a heavy bass beat disturbing them.

There were also problems with drinkers using a rear beer garden late at night and residents in flats facing the Black Horse could clearly hear their loud voices.

Customers also lingered around the premises late at night at the main entrance and the rear gate in Cross Street, said the council report.

Suffolk police wants strict controls on the pub's operation and their recommendations include a ban on excessive ordering of alcohol when last orders have been called; the licensee to take part in police drugs initiatives; no re-entry to the pub after 11pm and the premises will have to close at 1am.

Meanwhile, a planning application for use of part of the Black Horse as a restaurant/takeaway and re-siting of the beer garden has been recommended for approval by district council officers.

A decision will be taken on January 7 by the development control sub-committee.

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