Seafront bar wins 4am alcohol licence to screen Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr boxing bout

A seafront bar has won a bid to sell alcohol up to 4am for a TV boxing bout – despite police objections.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 30 May, 2019, 13:58
Anthony Joshua during the public work-out at the Brookfield Place, New York. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Port of Call, in North Terrace, Seaham, recently lodged a bid with Durham County Council for a temporary event notice (TEN).

The application was linked to plans to screen the Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr broadcast from Madison Square Garden this weekend.

The Port of Call, Seaham. Picture by FRANK REID

Taking into account time differences, the bout is set to run into the early hours of Sunday, June 2 in the UK.

During consultation, Durham Constabulary lodged objections, triggering a licensing hearing at Durham County Hall.

Police concerns included up to 100 people exiting the venue at closing time, noise disruption and anti-social behaviour.

Insp Rachel Stockdale, speaking at the meeting, said she had no issue with the venue’s record, but had concerns over the increase in drinking hours.

Andy Ruiz Jr during the public work-out at the Brookfield Place, New York. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

This included TV screenings of the Champions League final on Saturday, June 1 at the venue  combined with the extended hours for the boxing.

She added: “Personally, I have to speak on behalf of the community and the community do not support a 4am closure because of the noise, public nuisance and fear of crime and disorder that can be associated with this.

“We know the unpredictability of such events and a TEN is designed within the licensing for legitimate community events – it’s a soft touch to licensing – it’s not seen as an opportunity to extend licensing hours for drinking.

“They were designed to benefit the community but I feel on this occasion this benefit is for the minority not for the majority.

“The majority will suffer.”

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Applicant Adam Dickman, of Port of Call, defended the TEN which he said was made in response to requests from customers and boxing fans.

The meeting heard that the venue would employ licensed door staff, make the event ‘ticket-only’ and had spoken to taxi firms which agreed to open late to meet demand.

Mr Dickman added that people watching football earlier in the day would have to leave the venue before the boxing event starts.

With a similar approach to events in the Sunderland Port of Call branch, he explained, this would create “distance” between drinkers and those attending the late-night event.

However, committee chairman, Jan Blakey, raised concerns about the potential of the event running over and finishing past 4am.

“There’s no plan B,” she said.

Mr Dickman told the meeting that guidance from broadcast provider Sky indicated the fight would be finished by 4am.

He added people would be let out of the venue in a phased way – when transport is available – to minimise disruption.

“We’re not just shoving one hundred people out into the street and letting them fend for themselves,” he said.

“We will let a couple of groups out (at a time) so at least everyone is not dispersing at once.”

Following discussion, the Special Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee gave the green light to the TEN.

They said they were reassured by the event being ticketed, but requested that if any incidents take place, they are logged and passed to the police.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service