Licence transfer refused for Sunderland's Jungle Bar in Vine Place after police object over history of trouble

Councillors have refused to transfer the premises licence for a Sunderland bar after concerns were raised by police over the venue’s history of trouble.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 1:26 pm

Sunderland City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee on Friday considered an application to transfer the premises licence for Jungle Bar in Vine Place.

An application was submitted to transfer the licence to Jade Mulley, however the issue had to go before councillors due to an objection from police, who argued it would undermine the crime prevention objective.

Miss Mulley, who worked at the bar for two years under the previous owner, said she was aware of issues the venue previously faced with crime, but argued she had already made huge improvements.

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The Jungle Bar in Vine Place

However police stressed the venue has seen a “disproportionate amount of incidents” reported compared to similar neighbouring venues.

Miss Mulley, who has also worked for the NHS for four years, said she has given it her all during the last six weeks, when she had been running the bar, to make improvements.

She said: “I just feel like things have changed, it’s nothing compared to what it was.

“I’ve put everything into place I possibly can.

“I can continue making this pub into a pub where people want to come in and enjoy themselves, and have a good night, have a good drink, have a good laugh, minus all the fights and arguments and whatever else.”

She added changes she has made include bringing in new door staff, bringing in a dress code and banning joggers, trainers and shorts.

She added: “We’ve seen a total different atmosphere, it’s completely different, different clientele, we’re starting to get a lot of older clientele in.

“The new clientele is completely different and it’s a much happier environment inside.”

However Sergeant Maria Ord, from Northumbria Police, said she has “never dealt with any premises to this degree” in Sunderland City Centre and therefore the site needs a more experienced premises licence holder.

She said: “The issue around Jade isn’t that she hasn’t worked or attempted to work with the police.

“It is that I feel in this premises you need an experienced person to take the lead, a big overhaul of management at this premises, because it is so problematic, and we haven’t seen that.”

Helen Thompson, solicitor on behalf of the police, supported this view, stressing Miss Mulley’s only previous bar experience had been under the previous owner at Jungle Bar.

She said: “This is a problematic premise and one that has been so for a number of years and in the police’s submission it requires an experienced person to come in and change the premises.”

Police statistics showed between May 2 and June 13, 2021 there were 27 incidents reported at the site.

Ms Thompson said this included numerous reports of fights, thefts, assaults, concerns over drunk and disorderly behaviour, and criminal damage.

Meanwhile since July 30 there have been a further seven incidents reported to the police, which Miss Mulley added shows signs of progress.

Following a break for deliberation by the three councillors on the committee, the council solicitor then relayed the decision made by the elected members to the applicant and police.

They said: “The concerns that have been raised by the police have been acknowledged as being concerns by the members of the committee.

“It’s their concern that it is such a problematic business historically and the need for more experience is required.

“Therefore on this occasion they have taken the view that they shouldn’t grant the application, they should refuse it on the basis of the objections that have been raised.”

Legal representatives on behalf of the police added in June this year they had begun to look at reviewing the venue’s licence, due to the incidents which occurred.

However the application was then made to transfer the premises licence, which led to the police putting the licence review on hold, to focus on this application.

Following the refusal, the premises licence for the venue will go back to the previous holder.

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