Police push for licence review of late-night Chipping Sodbury pub
8:00am Thursday 8th November 2012 in News Exclusive By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
POLICE are calling for a pub in Chipping Sodbury to have its licence reviewed after complaints of late night rowdy behaviour.
The Portcullis Hotel, on Horse Street, could be stripped of its licence by South Gloucestershire Council’s licensing panel before the busy Christmas period. Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s complaint means the council will review the pub’s licence next month and could revoke it completely or limit its opening hours.
But staff at the pub, which opens until 2am Thursday to Saturday, have mounted a passionate campaign against the review and say they are being treated differently than any other public house in the town.
Landlady Jenna Hale told the Gazette: "Up until three weeks ago we had been in ongoing conversations with the police but now they will only speak to my solicitor. We are being treated differently than all the rest of the pubs."
She said since taking over the Portcullis three years ago with her partner Lewis McDonnell, late-night trouble had decreased dramatically and a petition against the licence review has so far been signed by 252 people.
"Shopkeepers have said they are quite happy trading next to us and most residents who move into a High Street with five pubs close together know what to expect," said Ms Hale. "Fifty per cent of the reported crimes are mobile phones being lost and one report is of a group of drunken people I refused to serve. They went across the road and started a fight and that counts against us. How can that be fair?"
She said the uncertainty of the pub’s opening hours at Christmas was making planning the festive season very challenging and that even a reduction in hours to 11.30pm at weekends would lead to job losses for the Portcullis’ 28 staff.
"I really don’t know what we are going to do," she said.
District Chief Inspector Norman Pascal said he could not comment on incidents at the pub before the commmittee hearing but said police were committed to make Chipping Sodbury a safe place at night.
He added: "We work closely with licensees, Pub Watch members and the council’s licensing team to tackle the issues local people tell us matter to them – including rowdy drunken behaviour. All licensees have a duty to work with us to prevent crime and disorder affecting the community.
"We have met with the licensee and/or designated premises supervisor of the Portcullis on several occasions to discuss the issues raised by local residents and offer support."
The date of the licensing hearing has not yet been confirmed.
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