Mixed reaction to bar’s £20,000 seating fine

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PUNTERS have spoken out in support of a pub hit with a £20,000 fine for putting benches outside.

The Victualler Harbourside Bar & Restaurant in Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, was hauled into court last month.

Now people have voiced their support for the bar on The News’ Facebook page.

Julie Perry said: ‘Stupid. They are really nice seats too and make the area look better than an empty ghost town.’

Thalia Colyer added: ‘Absolutely ridiculous that Clarence Yard is so woefully under-utilised.

‘It’s a lovely area. Gosport’s waterfront is an asset and Clarence Yard could rival Port Solent as a destination if the council would be proactive in helping business.’

But Darren Waring said: ‘Rules are rules, laws are laws, regardless of the financial gain. You have no one else to blame but yourself.’

At the sentencing hearing last month a judge said ‘money must have been the reason’ for leaving the benches out over summer.

Firm 88 75 Ltd, of Weevil Lane, was fined £20,000 after admitting breaching an enforcement notice for the benches.

Landlord Ben Bartrip had applied to Gosport Borough Council for retrospective planning permission but was turned down.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the council ordered the bar to remove the seating with the notice, but this was not done.

Mr Bartrip fears the fine will put him out of business.