Former Wolverhampton gang pub licence to be considered again
A request for a new licence at a former pub in Wolverhampton which was plagued by violent crime has been re-submitted – just months after withdrawing a previous application.
The Harp Inn, in Walsall Street, Horseley Fields, withdrew a previous application after months of opposition from local residents and campaigners.
The pub, said by police to have been part of the "gang circuit", has been forced to close down several times in recent years following incidents of violence and nuisance behaviour.
It reopened under the name ‘The Mississauga’ before finally closing again.
Now Wolverhampton City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee is being asked to reconsider a new premises licence application, submitted by O. Hines Limited.
The council’s City Environment Director Ross Cook said: “This new application was originally received on January 25 and is in respect of the sale of alcohol on the premises, the provision of late night refreshments and the playing of recorded music at the premises.
“All the relevant authorities have been consulted and invited to attend the hearing.
“It is the understanding of the licensing authority that this application has been properly made, along with the council’s statutory requirement to give us prior notice of it.”
The council’s Licensing Sub-Committee has already held several meetings to address the matter in recent months with a number of adjournments.
The last application was withdrawn, although no reason was given, and the situation has since remained unresolved.
Residents living near the pub and a local campaign group started a petition protesting against the venue reopening, while West Midlands Police also raised a number of concerns over the application.
The group cited repeated incidents of fighting, loud music, cars racing up and down the street and general noise nuisance extending into the early hours.
Sergeant Steph Reynolds told committee members at the last meeting that she had “major concerns” about permission for the premises licence being granted.
She said: “The pub has attracted criminal activity and known gang members have frequented it over a number of years.
“Class A drugs have also been used on the premises – traces of which were found on numerous surfaces inside the pub by police officers using specialist wipes.
“Up to now West Midlands Police has envisaged further issues of drugs being dealt inside the pub and repeated criminal activity taking place. These matters seriously undermine all four of the licensing objectives.”
Speaking on behalf of residents living near the pub, Wolverhampton councillor Anwen Muston, also a member of the licensing sub-committee, said locals had suffered for years due to repeated disturbances from activities at the venue.
The council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee will consider the new application next week.
By Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter