HAVANT’S most notorious pub has been boarded up after years of violence.
Police were called to The Star, in North Street, so often that it sparked a review of the licence last year. That was just about to be called in again when the landlord walked away after a failed attempt to turn around the troublesome venue.
The owners, Fullers, immediately ripped out the pumps from the pub – and even took down the pub sign after the departure of Simon Cook on Wednesday.
The large corner building has now been boarded up and Havant councillor David Guest wants to see it turned into a bistro, a move away from the drinking culture that surrounds North Street.
Cllr Guest said: ‘I’m not sorry to see it go, being managed as it was. What I would like to see in North Street is a better offer.
‘I want pubs to transform themselves into venues that add to the evening economy by way of food and obviously alcohol as well, but more food-based.
‘This has happened in Wickham, with Greens, which is a classic example. The food is excellent and it’s quite difficult to get a booking at times. I want that sort of thing to come to Havant once we step away from the old booze culture which is totally out of date.
‘This is an opportunity to change and move in a different direction. I want people to come in and enjoy themselves rather than fear going there because of drunken behaviour.
‘The person brave enough to step up and create something good, perhaps a quality bistro, will have my full support.’
Residents living near the pub complained to police and Havant Borough Council about the problems at weekends.
Kevin Jones, 19, said: ‘I’m glad it’s closed. There was a lot of noise and the police were always outside. But you didn’t want to look out of the window because it made you look nosy.’
Police licensing officer, Andy Hibbert, said: ‘The police worked with the pub’s licensee and bar staff to improve the condition of the premises and stringent conditions were imposed to prevent further criminal and anti-social activity related to drinking in and around the pub.
‘Unfortunately, these measures were not having the desired effect and we were in the process of starting a second review, with a view to having the licence revoked.
‘The pub is now closed, and it is hoped this will put an end to the disturbances that have adversely affected local residents.’
HISTORY oF HASSLE
LAST year The News revealed the shocking level of violence at The Star.
Landlord Simon Cook left after 18 months at the pub during which time it was plagued with violent crime.
Police were called to 25 serious incidents in 10 months.
Two men were blinded by vicious assaults while another had his jaw broken.
In the latest incident two women were charged with assault after a fight on March 5 in which a younger woman was attacked.
A neighbour said he was at the end of his tether with the noise and fighting coming from the pub at weekends despite the best efforts of the landlord.