Concern over Yates’s Portsmouth bid to sell drink until 3am

Yates's bar in Guildhall Walk wants a later licence
Yates's bar in Guildhall Walk wants a later licence

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A BAR that was shut down following the death of a soldier now wants to serve alcohol until 3am.

Yates’s in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, wants to extend its licence on Fridays and Saturdays. But concerns have been raised about the bid.

Janet Maxwell, Portsmouth City Council’s director of public health, has spoken of her concerns.

She said despite improvements being made, there have been 353 incidents in the area in the past 12 months, accounting for nearly half of all problems with Portsmouth’s night-time economy.

In a letter to the council, she wrote: ‘There is at least one premises closed in Guildhall Walk at the moment, so these figures may be giving an artificially-lower picture.

‘When open and the economy picks up, the crime figures could increase again.’

Yates’s is within a ‘special policy area’ agreed by the authorities due to the violence associated with Guildhall Walk.

A letter written on behalf of Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable Andy Marsh said the bar had previously contributed to ‘high levels’ of violence. While the force admits the venue is running more smoothly now under new management, it would not support the bid going through.

‘We are concerned that the cumulative effect of allowing another late-night licence will mean there will be a larger number of people in the Guildhall Walk area from 2am onwards, partly because of a premises with an extra two hours of alcohol sales.

‘We are concerned this will lead to further violence, injury, illness or anti-social behaviour.’

Yates’s licence was suspended in 2010 following the death of Private Matt Brooks, who was attacked in the venue before being set upon in a car park nearby.

The venue was closed temporarily at the time following a worrying separate spate of fighting and drunken disorder at the venue.

While authorities worked to stamp out trouble in the area after the incident, there are fears that accepting the bar’s application could stir up old problems.

Currently, customers can be served alcoholic drinks until 1am. A decision will be made by the council on Wednesday.