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Old bank in Bearwood to become new craft beer pub after police withdraw objections

A licence has been granted to convert an old bank into a craft beer pub in Bearwood, after West Midlands Police withdrew their objections.

The premises in Bearwood. Photo: Edmund Boland
The premises in Bearwood. Photo: Edmund Boland

The bank, located on 537 Bearwood Road, closed in July last year, after bosses said only 75 regular customers used the branch exclusively for banking.

But Mr Edmond Boland, the applicant, submitted the change of use application to Sandwell council on April 20. He is director of The Pub @ Bearwood Ltd, first incorporated in March this year.

At a licensing committee held at Sandwell council this week, representations were heard whether or not the licence should be granted.

West Midlands Police had initially objected to the licence based on the suggested hours of operation. Mr Boland initially wished to end licensing hours at 12.30am, but West Midlands Police requested the pub to end licensed hours at midnight.

In a letter seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), Nicola Stanshie, licensing officer at West Midlands Police, said: “As discussed, the application states supply of alcohol will end at 12.30am and the closing hours are the same.

“As discussed, I would want to see the licensed hours end earlier than the opening hours so there is some wind down period. I understand that you actually intend to stop serving alcohol at 12 midnight anyway.

“My suggestion would be that you amend the application to the Local Authority and state you would like the alcohol hours to end at 12 midnight (I have no issue with late night refreshment until 12.30am as would consider if people want a hot drink or hot refreshment during the wind down period that is reasonable).”

West Midlands Police have placed conditions on the licence, including updating incident and refusal logs; CCTV switched on and recording at all times; training for staff; and operating a Challenge 25 policy.

One objection was recorded from a local resident.

The objection read: “I contest the application made for another pub on high street. Bearwood needs to be vibrant with an array of things that other neighbourhood has to offer, not littered with betting shops and public houses attracting an array of unsavoury anti-social behaviour.”

A spokesman for Sandwell council said: “This was a new application for a premises licence. If no objections are received at all the Licensing Authority has to grant as sought.

“On this occasion there were two objections and/or representations. The police withdrew theirs on conditions being offered relating to the provision of half an hours “drinking up time”, the regulation of SIA registered door supervisors and the managing of CCTV differing slightly to what was offered in the operating schedules. All members were happy with that.

“The sub-committee acknowledged the area and road had anti-social behaviour difficulties. However they heard evidence, to their satisfaction, that the applicant had been running a pub efficiently in Kings Heath for the last 12 months or so.

“They thought from this that an orderly well run pub might help alleviate crime and disorder issues in the area, not exacerbate them. Therefore they could see no reason to refuse the application.”

The plans to change the former bank into a drinking establishment follow a successful business model. ‘The Pub @ Kings Heath’ opened in June last year to much fanfare.

Bearwood has also seen a boom in independent cafes and pubs on its high street, with Craft Inn Bearwood and Why Not? Coffee.

Speaking after the meeting, Edmund Boland said he was “delighted” at the decision.

He said: “We want to bring people together. We want to keep our prices down, as we have done in King’s Heath, to make sure everyone can visit our family-friendly pub.”

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