Calderdale venue loses its licence over breach of Covid-19 legislation and anti-social behaviour
Loud music, breaches of COVID legislation, anti-social behaviour and fire risks have resulted in a venue losing its premises licence.
Licensing councillors heard or read evidence covering incidents at The Pennine Hub, Station Road, Sowerby Bridge, ranging from music being played so loudly staff at a nearby business could not hear when they were on the telephone to designated premises supervisor Peter Garside and others rocking one of the portable toilets customers used outside, resulting in a male exiting it with his trousers down.
They revoked the premises’ licence, which covered sale of alcohol, music, dance and film, said Mr Garside should be removed as designated premises manager, and were particularly concerned a West Yorkshire Fire Service request to see a fire risk assessment had not been responded to.
Councillors revoked the licence on grounds they found nationally-set goals regarding prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and prevention of public nuisance were not being met.
In one incident customers became aggressive towards council enforcement staff who had told the designated premises supervisor Mr Garside to put out a fire that had been lit at the back of the building, they heard.
Reports submitted to the hearing included from West Yorkshire Police, although these related mostly to anti-social behaviour rather than criminal activity, West Yorkshire Fire Service,
Calderdale Council’s environmental health, enforcement and licensing teams, taxi drivers whose office is on land on which the hub also stands, local businesses and members of the public.
One nearby resident wrote: “The music from this premises is so unbearably loud the windows of my house rattle and things have even fallen off the wall.”
While restrictions were in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these were breached, on one occasion while the Euro 2021 football tournament was being held, when a Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice was served on Mr Garside.
On occasions when enforcement officers visited social distancing was not being adhered to, Calderdale Council’s Licensing Sub-committee heard.
Environmental health issues also raising concern included lack of running water inside the premises, lack of hand wash and equipment sinks and lack of appropriate toilet facilities.
The premises had only been licensed in November 2020 and complaints and incidents had run March 2021 until September 3, 2021, when the request to reconsider the licence was made, said licensing office Stuart Frary, making the application.
Mr Frary told the hearing the evidence highlighted the negative impact the premises were having on the local community and local businesses.
“Due to Mr Garside’s direct interest in this business, it is felt that the only satisfactory solution would be to revoke the premises licence for the Pennine Hub,” he said.
Mr Garside said he had made mistakes but these could be rectified and the Pennine Hub had the potential to be a good resource for the community.
His previous business on the site, which sold items like electrical goods, had been destroyed by flooding on Boxing Day 2015 and again in February 2021, hitting him hard financially, after which the COVID-19 pandemic began.
He had pushed innovative electronic and music equipment to its limits but soundproofing or limiters could address these problems, he said, while in times of COVID it had been impossible for he and his staff to control people.
“I realise I have made a mistake trying to make a living to get myself out of the mire.
“We have environment projects, outdoor pursuits and more we would like to operate from out of this building.
“Every aspect we have spoken about can be addressed, will be addressed, and I will prove to you I can organise and run a smooth running community centre outside of times of COVID.
“I plead with you to make any arrangement to work with me and give us a chance to prove ourselves,” he said.
But councillors decided they had no option but to remove the licence.
* Support your Halifax Courier by becoming a digital subscriber. You will see 70 per cent fewer ads on stories, meaning faster load times and an overall enhanced user experience. Click here to subscribe