Licence approved for new bar in Seaham despite objections from police

A new bar in Seaham town centre has won permission to sell alcohol – despite concerns from police bosses.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:56 pm
The licence for the bar in Church Street in Seaham has been approved.
The licence for the bar in Church Street in Seaham has been approved.

Earlier in June, Durham County Council’s planning department approved a planning application to convert a former shop space at 70 Church Street into a bar.

A separate licensing application had also been lodged with the local authority for a premises licence for the new venture, which will be called Bar 1828, covering live music and alcohol sales indoors.

However, during consultation Durham Constabulary objected to the application, stating the plans would clash with licensing objectives around the prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance and public safety.

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A police representation submitted to the council, states that the original hours applied for and nature of business described by the applicant, including hosting ‘discos on a weekend,’ suggested the venture could be “perceived as a nightclub.”

Following discussions with the council, the applicant agreed to remove all off-sales of alcohol from the application and to remove all reference to a ‘beer garden’ – clarifying it would be used as a smoking area only.

The applicant also agreed that no live or recorded music would be played in the rear yard at any time.

Due to the police objection, the licensing application was called before Durham County Council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee for decision at a meeting on Monday, June 14.

Paul Clark, operational lawyer on behalf of Durham Constabulary, said the force was concerned about the impact the bar’s licensing application would have on licensing objectives and the local community.

He said: “When the Licensing Act of 2003 was introduced it was with a view to licensing premises becoming more continental or family-orientated in operation, rather than simply a pub.

“There is no regard to families or tourism, i.e what the focus of the regeneration of [Seaham] is, there are already a number of pubs within the town and on Church Street itself.

“Yet another purely drinking establishment would tip the balance in favour of the night-time economy and adult daytime drinking, with the inherent issues that causes.”

The police representative added that Seaham already has issues with anti-social behaviour fuelled by alcohol consumption, adding that the licensing application would create an “increased risk of crime and disorder” if granted.

The meeting heard further details from the application with regards to the plans for the bar.

This included the ground floor being designed in an “rustic old fashioned style” and the upper floor being more modern, hosting live sports on a big screen, pool and darts and offering weekly events.

A representative for the applicant added the venue was not a “drinking bar” and hoped to welcome veterans’ associations and to use the space for other community activities.

After retiring to consider the representations in private, three members of the Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee approved the licensing application.

The decision means the premises can sell alcohol for consumption on the premises between 11am-11pm, Sunday to Thursday and 11am-12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Meanwhile, New Year’s Eve alcohol hours would be 11am-12.30am.

The venue also won permission to have live and recorded music indoors.

For more information on the licensing application for Bar 1828 , visit: democracy.durham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=249&MId=12899