Oldbury pub that broke Covid rules will be able to reopen after violent disorder closed premises

A Sandwell pub which was discovered breaking Covid rules following a violent assault has been told it can reopen.

The Phoenix on Martley Road, Oldbury. Photo: Google Street View
The Phoenix on Martley Road, Oldbury. Photo: Google Street View

The Phoenix, in Martley Road, Oldbury, had its licence suspended after a man suffered serious head injuries on October 24.

Councillors have now imposed strict conditions so it can reopen its doors, including enforcing Covid rules.

In October, police asked Sandwell Council to suspend the pub's licence after it uncovered evidence the public house ignored social distancing.

A licensing officer for West Midlands Police said CCTV footage showed the bar had flouted restrictions on social distancing and the ban on people from different households meeting.

More Covid-19 coverage:

Telling members of Sandwell’s licensing committee that the had been two fights on the same day, she said: “What became apparent was a complete disregard for any of the Covid measures that should have been in place.”

Explaining that during October the pub was under Tier 2 measures, she added: “What we gauged from the CCTV footage in this case was what you’d call normal times.

“We had people walking around the premises, we had people being served at the bar and we had groups mixing.

“Some of the statements we gathered during the criminal investigation confirmed it was groups of friends meeting in the pub.”

She added the images been leaked to the public, saying :“We don’t know how it has happened , whether it was carelessness or if someone was able to access it but again in the middle of criminal investigation into a serious incident it raises real concerns from a policing perspective.

Risk assessment

“In this case it could have proved catastrophic in us detaining an offender.”

In response to councillors’ questions, she said The Phoenix did not have a history of serious complaints or incidents.

Duncan Craig, on behalf of the licence holder Mr Amritpal Singh, accepted that social distancing and licensing rules had ‘fallen short’.

Saying a risk assessment had been conducted to make the pub Covid safe, he added that his client had agreed to new conditions to allow it to reopen.

Stressing the police were not asking for the suspension to continue or for the licence to be revoked, he told councillors: “What you have here is an agreed position between the parties. So in these circumstances I would say that is something you can give a significant, and I would add, an overwhelming amount of weight to.”

He assured councillors Covid restrictions would be followed and door staff would help ensure rules were followed

Lifting the licence suspension, the committee said The Phoenix can only reopen if and when coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

In addition, councillors ordered that a doorman must be employed on Friday and Saturday nights.

They also required the pub’s CCTV to be kept under lock and key and be password protected, while staff had to undergo additional and ongoing training.

Police have said that following the assault a Halesowen man has been arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News