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Music venue to have its licence reviewed
THE Victoria pub, in Old Town, is to set have its premises licence reviewed by Swindon Council tomorrow after being caught on two separate occasions selling booze to teenagers.
The popular watering-hole and music venue, in Victoria Road, whose premises licence is held by Anna Sprawson and David Young, failed two test purchases by underage volunteers for Wiltshire Police in May 2010 and October 2012.
Police also called the review as there have been public safety issues at the venue owing to the smoking area being directly outside on a public footpath beside a busy main road.
Swindon Council’s licensing committee has wide powers to sanction the venue, ranging from modifying the conditions of the licence and removing one or more of the activities authorised, through to suspending the licence for up to three months or completely revoking the licence.
Police will ask the committee to consider a number of conditions, including that the premises must have a door supervisor on a Friday and Saturday evening or at any other time on a risk-assessed basis, that no one under 18 will be allowed in after 7pm, that no drinks or glasses will be allowed off the premises, and a Challenge 21 policy should apply, meaning anyone looking 21 or under is automatically asked for ID.
A report to be presented to tomorrow’s committee shows that The Victoria served drink to two girls aged 15 and 16 on May 28, 2010.
The pub did not fail any further test purchase until October 27, 2012, when two 17-year-olds bought Bulmer’s cider and a Smirnoff ice.
Police say the youngsters on both occasions were not challenged on entry as the venue does not employ door staff.
In the report, police licensing officer, Sian Kalynka writes: “It is widely accepted that incidents of disorder linked to the night time economy are also linked to the excessive consumption of alcohol.
Under-age alcohol sales by on-licensed premise place young people at risk of becoming victims of crime and developing health issues.”
In a response on behalf of the licence holders, lawyer Nigel Musgrove said two failed test purchases in two and a half years cannot be considered persistent sales to children, and points out that the venue passed three test purchases between May 2010 and October 2012, plus one in February 2010.
He said many premises which failed the operation in October 2012 complained the volunteers looked considerable older than they were.
The premises licence holders have suggested a number of conditions on their licence, including that a doorman should work on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9am and at other times on a risk-assessed basis, a Challenge 25 policy should be implemented, and that no drinks or glassware should be allowed off the premises.