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Wednesbury pub with a history of violence to reopen in run-up to Christmas

A trouble-plagued Black Country bar will be allowed to reopen in the run-up to Christmas after council chiefs backed its bid for a temporary licence.

Seven Bar, Wednesbury, will be allowed to open in the run up to Christmas
Seven Bar, Wednesbury, will be allowed to open in the run up to Christmas

Seven Bar, in Wednesbury, has been given permission to open up on four weekends over the festive period despite an objection from West Midlands Police.

The force had opposed the a temporary licence for the Lower High Street venue, which was shut down earlier this year after a series of violent incidents including stabbings, violent assaults, robbery and attempted murder.

Last month, licensing chiefs at Sandwell Council threw out its bid to fully reopen due to concerns over violence.

But at a meeting on Tuesday, a panel of three councillors voted two-to-one in favour of granting a temporary licence to applicant Anthony Melia.

It means the venue will open this weekend, then on December 9-11; 16-18, and 23-24. Booze will be served from 10am-10pm.

The decision has been welcomed by Mr Melia, who previously managed the bar in 2016 and in 18 years as a publican has also run The Forge Tavern in Wednesbury, The Junction in Hill Top and The Why Not in Darlaston.

He has pledged to turn the bar into a "trouble-free" venue by laying on music and karaoke for an older crowd.

Mr Melia told the Express & Star: "I'm going to make it an unwelcoming place for the sort of clientèle that have caused all the trouble. The loud rave music and the dark corners will be gone.

"I'm going to have that pub lit up like Blackpool Illuminations, so there's no way people will be able to do what they were doing in the past."

Mr Melia said he plans to revert to the bar's former name, The Turk's Head.

He also said he hopes an appeal hearing over his application for a full licence – scheduled for next week – can be delayed until after the temporary events so he can provide evidence that the pub can be run "trouble-free".

Seven Bar had its licence revoked in June after police were called out there 26 times over a 12-month period.

The long list of violent activity documented by the police included an incident where the pub allegedly continued to serve drinks while a stabbed man was slumped over the bar bleeding.

Other incidents include a man ploughing his car into people outside the pub, while there have been reports of stabbings, mass brawls and hammer attacks.

West Midlands Police said reopening the venue would "seriously undermine the prevention of crime and disorder".

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