From bank to drugs farm to bar for Wolverhampton city centre building
A former city centre bank which was turned into a cannabis factory is set to become a piano bar after plans were approved by councillors.
Shaun Keasey, who already owns the Prince Albert pub and Gorgeous Nightclub in Wolverhampton, has been given the green light to open Bogart's in the former Nationwide building in Queen Square.
The old building society building next door to Subway has been empty for several years and was last year found to have around 200 cannabis plants growing inside it.
The drugs farm was spread over three floors and the basement of the dilapidated building which had also been home to a flock of pigeons.
And now it will be turned into a piano bar after Wolverhampton Council licensing bosses approved the plans despite earlier concerns raised by police.
Mr Keasey, who is the chairman of Pubwatch and a councillor in Dudley, told committee members: “The Queen Square area is the beating heart of Wolverhampton city centre and I want reinvigorate that.
“Venues come and go but we want to make this work. As an experienced trader, I want to reassure members that this is not a nightclub and it will operate as a bar.”
The licensing committee earlier heard concerns raised by West Midlands Police due to the location of the venue, as there were already so many bars in the same area.
Sergeant Steph Reynolds, from West Midlands Police said officers had concerns over opening hours, any CCTV footage, off sales, the venue’s last entry time and its requirement to inform police about forthcoming licensing events.
Mr Keasey said that entertainment at the venue would be mainly piano-led with individual performers providing background music.
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