Macclesfield bar has license suspended following 'consistent' breaching of conditions

  Posted: 10.09.20 at 22:03 by James Kelly

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A Macclesfield bar has had its license suspended for at least four weeks after police found it to be “consistently in breach of licensing conditions”.

In particular, police say the Thirsty Beak Café Bar- since renamed as The Thirsty Corner- on Mill Street failed to record and store CCTV footage in line with their licensing conditions.

Councillors on Cheshire East’s Licensing Act Sub Committee made the decision yesterday (9 September) to suspend the license as a result of a police application.

In a written report by police presented to councillors, the breaches came to light following a “serious assault” in July last year which had been reported to the council and then passed onto the police.

During their enquiries, police were requesting CCTV footage from premises which would have been operating at the time, including the Thirsty Beak.

A solicitor for Cheshire Police, identified only as Beth at the meeting, told councillors: “That led to the discovery that this particular premises, the Thirsty Beak, were not adhering to their licensing conditions.

“The CCTV was not accessible, it was not properly stored and it had not been kept for the requisite amount of time- I think being wiped over after only eight days rather than the 28 which were required.”

Police paid a further visit to the bar on 27 September 2019 where an officer found that the CCTV was still not compliant. A visit the following month found they were only recording for 18 days.

“It was only in November 2019 that a constable visited the premises and on this occasion, the CCTV was finally compliant with the conditions of the license. However, further to the interview and further submissions by the DPS (Designated Premises Supervisor), chief inspector Jez Taylor determined that it was appropriate to bring a review at the local authority,” the police solicitor said.

The bar was also found to be in breach of conditions with only two out of seven of the door staff being registered with the Security Industry Authority (SIA), the industry regulator.

Other breaches included customers drinking in the Dukes Court courtyard and providing entertainment there, an area not covered by their license.

Tracey Warne is named at the meeting as the current DPS, but she was not present yesterday’s virtual committee meeting to defend her conduct.

The report said Ms Warne and an unidentified woman were invited to Macclesfield Police Station for an Action Plan meeting on 5 December to help ensure licensing compliance.

The report described Ms Warne and the unidentified person as being “very reluctant to agree to the meeting” and “messed the officer around regarding whether they would attend or would not attend”.

They did attend and an action plan was agreed to be enacted within 28 days; however an inspection by police on 31 January this year found that the bar was still in breach of a number of conditions.

Chief Inspector Taylor initiated the review into the license in mid-February, but proceedings were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chief inspector said in the report: “The licensee has a total disregard for the license conditions currently on the premises license; we feel that nothing would be achieved by adding further conditions given that Ms Warne is unable to the conditions currently on the license.”

Police applied to have the licensed revoked outright.

The police solicitor said: “On 9 July 2020 the constabulary received an application from a Ms Kate Homer in respect of transferring the license to her. From what we know of Ms Homer, it appears to have been intended that she would operate the premises with her partner who also has conduct of a nearby premises.”

She added that since this point, the police and the licensing officers had made “repeated efforts” to contact Ms Homer, but she “consistently failed to respond”.

“Unfortunately that leads us the conclusion that the application to transfer the license on the second occasion appears to be a further attempt to circumvent the licensing regime,” the solicitor said.

Upon hearing the evidence from the police representatives, councillors Mark Goldsmith, Kathryn Flavell and Hazel Faddes, who made up the committee, decided to suspend the license for four weeks.

They also ruled that Ms Warne should be removed as the DPS for the Thirsty Corner and additional conditions be applied to the premises to do with opening times and its operation.

The suspension will take effect in 21 days, however, a post on the bars Facebook page said that they would be remaining closed tonight (10 September).

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