Housing plans for former Sunderland 'problem pub' with history of violence

A Sunderland ‘problem pub’ which closed after its licence was revoked could be demolished to make way for 16 new homes.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 4:28 pm
Updated Monday, 6th July 2020, 4:29 pm
The site of the former Buffs Club Old Mill Road, Sunderland.

The B Bar, known locally as The Buffs, closed indefinitely last year after the premises’ licence was revoked by Sunderland City Council’s licensing committee.

The decision was made after a number of violent crimes took place at the Southwick-based bar including two serious assaults which owners and staff failed to report to police.

Now, more than one year on from its closure, plans to fully demolish the now empty site have been submitted to Sunderland City Council.

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If approved, 16 homes will be built on the site

If approved, the proposals would see 16 new homes – 11 two-bed bungalows and five three-bed houses – built on the site, off Old Mill Road, and the derelict land to the rear.

The rear and sides of the building has already been knocked down with a large amount of rubble left on the site.

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Sunderland-based MCC Homes Limited has now bought the site of the former pub and the land to the rear which was previously a day care centre that was demolished more than 15 years ago.

If the plans are approved, a new cul-de-sac will be built with 16 houses, gardens and parking.

A design and access statement, submitted to Sunderland City Council, reads: “The site has been vacant for a considerable period of time and is now detracting from the overall appearance of the immediate street scene.

“The pub has been closed for the past ten months and was becoming a local nuisance for local services as such the landlord has lost his license and the pub was closed. As a community building the pub was also looking for alternative uses as trade had started to slow down.

“The old day centre at the back of pub was demolished over fifteen years ago and has been in the council ownership ever since. MCC Homes in consultation with the local authority has purchased the land and the former pub with a view to offer affordable housing on the site.”

Why did The Buffs lose its licence?

In May 2019, Sunderland City Council’s licensing committee ruled in favour of Northumbria Police’s application to revoke The Buffs licence meaning the bar was closed indefinitely.

The committee heard police received a report of a serious assault at the premises on September 16, 2018, with a man hospitalised after being knocked unconscious and suffering a bleed on the brain.

Police were not contacted by the licensees or staff about the incident and later found the injured man lying unconscious at the other side of the road.

Efforts to recover CCTV footage from the premises were significantly undermined, with the specified clip having been removed and never found.

On October 5, 2018, a violent offender brutally assaulted a couple inside the pub and left a man in hospital with a brain haemorrhage and a broken nose– which was again not reported to police.

Ricki King, 34, admitted charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm and causing grievous bodily harm with intent during a Newcastle Crown Court hearing in February 2019, and was jailed for nine years.

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