A popular community pub in Bristol has been saved from having its licence revoked after the police mounted a challenge to shut it down following a series of violent incidents last year.
The Criterion in St Pauls was saved from closure after agreeing to £30,000 worth of improvements including new door security, additional door supervision on Friday and Saturday nights, enhanced CCTV and restrictions on entry.
Owner Ann White, who has run the pub for 16 years, was assisted by a legal team from Gregg Latchams Solicitors, who worked with her to agree a list of new measures to present to the committee to enable her to retain her licence.
The pub was closed pending the review hearing which was adjourned by a week with the agreement of the police and council licensing committee. This enabled the pub team to draw up its remedial plan and gather advice from Bristol organisations responsible for the promotion of independent venues in the city, as well as those involved in the late-night economy including BARBIE, Place Making Bristol and Save Bristol Nightlife.
Following an all-day hearing at City Hall involving the police, Ann White, the head of the new door security team, two pub regulars and Leighton De Burca from Place Making Bristol, the licensing committee agreed to maintain the pub’s extended hours licence.
Police had triggered a review of the Criterion’s licence after a series of incidents in, or outside, the premises between August and December 2018.
The licensing committee was told the pub had not previously experienced problems during Ann White’s ownership.
They heard how the Criterion was the last surviving community pub in St Pauls making it a vital meeting place for local people of different generations.
Ewen Macgregor, Head of Regulatory and Licensing at Gregg Latchams Solicitors, who lead the legal battle for the Criterion, said: “It was clear from an very early stage that the pub played a very important part in the social fabric of this particular part of Bristol at a time when a number of other licensed premises in the vicinity had closed.
“It was also clear to me that we had to deal with, and address head on, the incidents that had taken place in the early hours of the morning.
“The closing of the pub allowed Ann to take a step back from the day to day operation and assess what steps needed to be taken to ensure the ongoing trading at the premises.
“The assistance and support from organisations like BARBIE, Save Bristol Nightlife and Place Making Bristol all played their part in ensuring that this important community asset is able to continue to trade. I was delighted with the decision and pleased that this important community asset has been preserved.”