Fenland pub transfer agreed after police chief drops objections after new conditions introduced

A FENLAND police chief today withdrew his objections which will now leave a couple free to return to run a Whittlesey pub.

A FENLAND police chief today withdrew his objections which will now leave a couple free to return to run a Whittlesey pub.

Inspector Rob Hill had contested an application for a change of tenancy at the Straw Bear Public House and set the wheels in motion for a special meeting of Fenland Council Licensing Committee.

But when the committee met today they heard that fresh talks had taken place recently between Insp Rob Hill, sector commander for March and district neighbourhood policing team, and the new owners and he had withdrawn police objections.

The pub is owned by Harvey/Richardson and Newson Ltd but Insp Hill had earlier told Fenland Council that it had been brought to his attention “that the applicant Vince Newson and his wife Joanne were tenants of the premises up until 2009 when the license was reviewed, resulting in their eventual withdrawal as publicans.

“This being the case, I have concerns that the issues leading to that review may return under the new ownership.”

However when the committee met today they agreed some additional clauses to the licence and Insp Hill and agreed the transfer. The modifications include employing door staff, restricting admissions after 10.30pm and ensuring half the bar area reverts to lounge type seating to encourage a more informal atmosphere.

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Insp Hill said earlier that during the Newsons’ previous tenancy, police received 75 calls to the Straw Bear- mainly from residents concerned about noise or rowdy incidents.

“There have been violent incidents including a large scale disorder which resulted in injuries to police officers and several arrests,” he says.

“On the evening of the disorder police had been called after a disturbance and Mr Newson spoke to officers and did not fully co-operate, refusing to point out who had been involved and allowing all parties to remain in the pub and continue drinking”.

Insp Hill said police were outnumbered and obstructed from separating the fighting males by other customers.

“It was felt Mr Newson had failed to take appropriate action and inform the police of what he knew,” says Insp Hill. “Had he done so, this violence could have been averted.”

Insp Hill had claimed many residents shared his concerns “indeed since news of the Newsons return has spread I have received correspondence from the community raising fears of a return to disorder and disruption.”

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