Councillors decide against taking action to curb Huntingdon bar’s opening hours

CCTV of assault shown at licensing review for Cromwell's Bar and Cafe in Huntingdon

CCTV of assault shown at licensing review for Cromwell's Bar and Cafe in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire Constabulary has been criticised by a district councillor for using a licensing review system to “address the lack of police resources”.

Cromwells, High Street, Huntingdon,

Cromwells, High Street, Huntingdon, - Credit: Archant

Councillor Ryan Fuller, chairman of the licensing sub-committee, made the claim following a hearing which looked at the licence of Cromwell’s Bar and Café in High Street, Huntingdon, which is operated by Marston’s.

The council’s sub-committee went against a recommendation from the force to reduce the bar’s opening hours and to remove the designated premises supervisor, Antony Mitchell, instead opting to issue a formal warning and guidance.

Cllr Fuller said: “The matter that we felt was an issue was the police reporting incidents using the council’s review system to try and address the lack of police resources.”

CCTV of assault shown at licensing review for Cromwell's Bar and Cafe in Huntingdon

CCTV of assault shown at licensing review for Cromwell's Bar and Cafe in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

The review was brought to the council in December last year by Cambridgeshire police’s licensing officer, Paul Hawkins, following complaints of a series of violent incidents and crimes.

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As a part of the review, held at the council’s Pathfinder House, on Wednesday, January 27, panel members were shown CCTV footage of crimes that had occurred outside the bar last year.

Questions were raised by Marston’s solicitor, Tim Shield, about the connection between Cromwell’s and the incident.

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Directing to PC Hawkins, Mr Shield said: “In some of the incidents Cromwell’s are not doing anything wrong.

“This review is not to make an example of these premises to others in Huntingdon.”

During the determination, Cllr Fuller agreed with Mr Shield, saying: “We did not accept that the police had made the connection between the incidents and Cromwell’s.

“We did not identify that there was a breach by the premises for incidents that were by or in direct locality to Cromwell’s by geography.”

However the panel had recognised that there were “management problems” but were pleased that these were “being addressed”.

“The panel would strongly expect that these improvements continue,” added Cllr Fuller.

The panel heard that Cromwell’s had already started making improvements, including employing a new team of door supervisors, providing training to staff on a number of areas and introducing more CCTV.

The bar has also changed its opening hours on Friday and Saturday to stop serving at 2am instead of 3am.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police told The Hunts Post: “It is unfortunate the committee did not feel the evidence we provided was sufficient, as well as deciding against formally adopting voluntary conditions proposed by the licensee to reduce the hours of operation, improve CCTV and increase the number of Security Industry Authority (SIA) trained door staff.

“While we are disappointed with the outcome there has been a considerable reduction of incidents associated with the venue since the application was made in December last year, and we will continue to work with licensed establishments in the area to provide a safer Huntingdonshire.

“There have already been discussions with representatives of Cromwell’s, and a meeting will be held in due course to discuss the future operations of the venue.”

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