Sunderland pubs lose derby day breakfast boozing bid

River Bar, Fatfield.
River Bar, Fatfield.
Have your say

FOUR more pubs have been banned from opening early doors on derby day.

River Bar in Washington, Establishment in Sunderland city centre, Colonel Prior in Doxford Park and Last Orders in Red House have been told they cannot allow breakfast-time boozing ahead of Sunday’s 1.30pm kick-off.

Sunderland City Council’s licensing sub-committee vetoed the proposals in a hearing lasting about 90 minutes.

Chief Superintendent Dave Pryer, of Northumbria Police, said the clash was categorised as high risk and was one of the force’s biggest policing operations, involving 800 police officers.

He said normally well-behaved fans could turn to violence at derby games and alcohol played a “significant” part in this, adding that public safety was his “number one “ priority.

Stuart Young, from Newcastle-based Popolo Group, which owns River Bar and Establishment, hoped to open both from 9am.

Speaking about the Washington bar, in Bonemill Lane, he said: “We have never had any problems and we are nowhere near Sunderland city centre.

“Any violence at the match is a long way removed from us.

“We are not strictly a Newcastle or Sunderland bar, as we are somewhere in the middle.

“We have never had any issues or incident of violence to do with the match.”

Mr Young, operations manager at the River Bar for 13 years, said he was “surprised” by police objections.

“We are not seeking to open at six or seven in the morning and let people get tanked up,” he added.

“At the end of the day, there are people who are going to go out with the specific purpose of causing trouble and people who are going to go out and get themselves absolutely ridiculously drunk, and we don’t want them as our customers.”

Last Orders and Colonel Prior both hoped to serve from 10am to 11pm.

Christine Devlin, landlady of Last Orders, in Rotherfield Road, said: “It’s a community pub with community atmosphere.

“People just want to come in a couple of hours early, get their seats, get settled and wait for the match to start.”

But the four-strong committee turned down the applications for all four bars.

As reported in the Echo, The Colliery Tavern also had its bid to open its doors from 10.30am rejected last week.

The council’s licensing committee originally gave it the go-ahead, but police successfully challenged the ruling at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Twitter: @janethejourno