Ref and Whistle premises licence revoked by Craven District Council for Covid-19 breaches
The premises licence of the Ref & Whistle pub in Skipton has been revoked in a unanimous decision by Craven District Council’s Licensing and Appeals sub-committee.
The sub-committee heard from a Council Environmental Health Officer, that there had been a number of Covid-19 breaches. The premises had not complied with requirements of social distancing, mask wearing and rules about table service/substantial meals.
Councillors also noted that the Premises Licence Holder had been seen on his own premises, indoors with a pub full of customers, without wearing a facemask to protect himself or afford protection to his customers and members of the local community.
Customers had also packed on to the public highway, without social distancing, or mask wearing. Photographs were produced in evidence.
Councillors heard that Environmental Health officers had issued a Prohibition Notice under the Coronavirus Regulations on December 11, requiring the premises to remain closed until further notice.
Councillor Simon Myers, Chairman of the sub-committee, said after the hearing: “The safety of customers and the local community was needlessly being put at risk by the activities at the Ref & Whistle.
“We considered all the representations made to us and came to a unanimous decision. We heard that extensive efforts were made by the Council’s Environmental Health and Licensing teams to attempt to ensure that the Premises Licence holder complied with Coronavirus Regulations during this difficult time.
“It is disappointing and concerning that the excellent work of these teams, and indeed other partners such as the NHS, who have been working so hard to keep the local community safe over recent months, was being undermined by these premises.
“We want to make it clear to all hospitality businesses that we will not allow breaches such as these to continue. In the interests of public safety, all premises licence holders must behave responsibly at all times.”
The application for review was made by Craven District Councillor David Noland and Skipton Town Councillor John Dawson, who said they had received a number of complaints about the premises from residents between April and December 2020. Members of the sub-committee had viewed video footage in relation to the hearing.
There were 10 letters in support of the review and 14 letters submitted in support of the licence holder.
Two residents spoke in support of the premises licence holder, Simon Greaves, and said the pub was a benefit to the neighbourhood and the incidents which had been highlighted were one-off events.
John Coen, licensing consultant, representing Mr Greaves, said the premises were generally compliant with licensing obligations.
However, the decision to revoke the premises licence was unanimous. Any appeal against the decision must be lodged with the Magistrates Court within 21 days.