Under age drinks bar shut down

AN under age drinking den has been shut down.

Fagin's Bar Up, Union Cross Yard, Halifax, is the first bar in Calderdale to lose its licence under the new licensing laws which were introduced in November 2005.

Calderdale Council's licensing panel, which took nearly three hours to come to a decision at the hearing to decide the bar's fate, heard that the pub sold alcohol to under 18s, regularly smelled of cannabis and was the scene of several fights.

And guests at the nearby White Swan Hotel, including one couple on their honeymoon, had to be given refunds after they couldn't sleep because of the music and shouting from drinkers.

Ian Skelt, for the police, told the two-day hearing at Halifax Town Hall, which was the first of its kind in Calderdale, that drinkers vomitted and urinated in the street.

Police drew up an action plan for owner Neil Reddy after repeated complaints. But when he failed to make changes they asked for the licence to be reviewed.

Mr Skelt said: "The picture is one of no control exercised over the premises by management or staff."

Other agencies, including Calderdale Council planning department and environmental health and representatives from nearby businesses, also gave similar statements.

John Cordingley, for Mr Reddy, said the owner denied serving under age or already intoxicated customers.

He also said Mr Reddy, who did not attend the hearing, had taken steps to deal with problems at the bar including removing an outside speaker, installing security cameras and attending the Halifax Pubwatch scheme.

"Neil Reddy does not for a moment dismiss the areas of concern expressed by the police but he does feel with time, effort, vigilance and attention to detail he can allay such fears."

But the panel said Mr Reddy's proposals for improvement were "inadequate".

Councillor Keith Wat-son (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) said: "We are not convinced any improvements or remedial work would be adhered to considering the lack of co-operation in the past."

The bar will be sent a formal letter revoking the licence, which was due to arrive today, and then Mr Reddy has 21 days to close. In that time he can appeal the decision.

In December 2005 officers raided the Tramshed Zoo Bar, Lord Street, Halifax, and uncovered hundreds of under age drinkers.

Police asked for their licence to be reviewed and a hearing date was set but it was not contested by owner John Singh. The building is now being turned into flats.