Customers rally to support under threat Fenland publican following licence review bid by councillor

The Georges March. Owner Nigel Marsh.

The Georges March. Owner Nigel Marsh. - Credit: Archant

Support has flooded in for a March pub after a Tory councillor demanded a review of its licence saying the venue caused problems with late night noise and fighting.

Fenland District Councillors Kit Owen.

Fenland District Councillors Kit Owen. - Credit: Archant

Councillor Kit Owen has called for a review at The Georges where he says the music is too loud and customers wake neighbours with shouting and fighting.

However, the Cambs Times has received messages of support for publican Nigel Marsh saying he keeps an orderly establishment with an impressive list of well-managed live entertainment.

Cllr Owen has submitted an application to Fenland District Council calling for them to take another look at the licence saying there is “inappropriate activity” at the premises including not taking adequate steps to control music noise and shouting and fighting in the front garden.

However, we have received emails of support for the pub in addition to dozens of messages of support on Facebook discussion pages.

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Alan Court said: “A certain individual is setting out try to close Georges. It is a great place to go for live music and has a good atmosphere. Why is this pub being targeted? Has this person nothing better to do but upset people?”

Carl Owen, of St Johns Road, March, said it was disappointing that Kit Owen (no relation) was trying to shut down the only live music venue in March.

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“From my experience Nigel appears to be keeping an orderly establishment and is making an effort to mitigate the noise nuisance that has been alleged,” he said.

“I would have thought a more sensible approach would be to work with the licencee to address the issues to the satisfaction of all parties.”

He added: “I do hope that you commit column space to readers that support Georges as you seem to have given plenty of column space to Kit’s accusations.”

Michael Bedford said that The Griffin and Cassanos had generated noise and disturbance for years so he could not understand why the Georges was suddenly being singled out for negative feedback.

“The landlord and his staff work tirelessly to cater for their customers requirements. In addition they are very pro-active in ensuring any noise issues or the occasional unruly client are swiftly addressed and I feel confident there would be very few complaints from any of the patrons.

“Considering the sorry state that this pub had diminished to, prior to Nigel Marsh, most people would agree the transition in such a short space of time has been tremendous.

“The alterations to the building were carried out at some considerable expense. Quite a brave and optimistic project I think and all credit to the landlord and his staff.”

Sarah Sammons told the Cambs Times she plans to move to March next year - the key factor being the evening entertainment offered at the Georges.

“Taking away the licence from someone who does so much for the local people would be awful.

“Nigel is addressing every issue that is put in front of him and is doing all he can to keep the local residents as happy as possible. Can they not meet him part way, or is it their way or no way?”

She added: “What’s the answer? To close every pub one by one until March becomes a ghost town? Doesn’t bear thinking of does it? Let’s all get behind this and help keep Georges open.”

Stuart Toman, 42, of Whittlesey Road, March, said he, his 68 year old mother and aunt and uncle found The Georges to be: “A breath of fresh air that this town needed” thanks to Mr Marsh “reviving a once extremely dilapidated public house into a venue where all ages can enjoy themselves in a relaxed atmosphere.”

“In all the time that Mr Marsh has run George’s, not once have either myself or my family ever seen any trouble either in or outside the premises, in fact I have seen more trouble outside certain takeway establishments on the same stretch of road.

“George’s is probably one of the safest well run venues in this town, never are doormen needed, never do you have problems with fighting or disorder, never do you have problems with drugs, which may I add is purely down to the excellent management of the establishment by Mr Marsh and his family and their zero tolerance policy.”

He added that Mr Marsh had invested money to have triple glazing glass to reduce noise from the establishment.

“When moving into a new home, the majority of people would look at the local surroundings before taking possession of a property, for example you wouldn’t buy or rent a house next to a train station, if you didn’t like the sound of trains.

“Georges has been on that site for near on 200 years, it is an integral part of this town’s history and as I see it ... the future,

“Cllr Owen should perhaps look at more pressing concerns within the town, such as better policing or dealing with the drunken people siting in and around West End park.”

Nuisance problems in town late at night were not down to one pub alone, he said.

T Palmer said: “Nigel is a very good landlord and host. He runs and manages the pub to a high standard. It would be a great shame if they shut this pub down. Where else can middle age people go on a Saturday night for good music. I think the panel need to move with the times a bit.

“The panel might want to stay in and watch X factor, but its not for all of us,” she said.

Tyler Horton said on the rare occasion when, as with every pub, there was an altercation, Nigel separated the culprits, resolved the issue and after talking to them, sent them home separately.

“All of this in the space of seconds,” he said.

“I have also witnessed this man’s partner driving a gentleman home simply because he had a pint too many and they wanted him to be safe instead of ushering him out.

“I have witnessed many things from Georges but never trouble. I have friends that live opposite who do not get bothered by noise, trouble etc. I think it is disgusting how this man and his family are getting treated and victimised by a councillor.

“The question of Nigel Marsh’s ability to handle this pub and how he is trying to improve sound proofing etc should not be the one being asked.

“What should be asked is simply what can we do to help this man attract custom into March? What can we do to support this man in improving what he has suggested? And why are we letting a councillor get away with making this man’s life, his family’s and local jobs get threatened?”

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